Sales Skills – It’s Not You, It’s Me!

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It’s not you, it’s me. How many times have we heard that clichéd refrain in relationships? In personal relationships between a close couple, it’s used as an excuse for a breakdown in communication or something more serious. In a sales relationship, as far as the customer is concerned, it really is not about you, it’s about me, and it serves us well as vendors to remember that. When you and your customer are both equally focused on the ‘it’s about me’, to address their business challenges, you get the alignment necessary for the creation of mutual value.

I’m not sure there’s a more important word in the sales world than ‘relationship’. It’s the subtitle to the recently published book ‘Selling for The Long Run’ by The TAS Group’s Wendy Reed. Indeed, at a simple level, ‘Relationship’ signals the fundamental difference between marketing and sales. Marketing – at a somewhat narrow angle the business of crafting messages and marketing mix elements to influence prospective and existing customers, and make life as easy as possible for sales – is a solitary exercise, done in thoughtful solitude. Sure, marketers have the customer in the forefront of all they do, but their occupation is primarily a solitary one, and many marketers will tell you they do their best ‘working stuff out’ on their own.

Sales, on the other hand, is a game for two or more people, where you’re getting to know the other party and establishing common ground, a rapport. Nothing happens in the corporation until you are successful. You’re building something together, namely a relationship, and if you both get on and share similar interests, you hope it will be lasting. People who get on with people often gravitate to sales.

If you have children, think back to when they were very young. The baby or child is all about ‘me-ism’, it hasn’t learn how to get on with people, to compromise, to work together. You, as the parent, are all about ‘we-ism’. You’re both focused on the wellbeing of the junior member of the partnership, but you come at it from the point of view of the family as a whole. You’re much more experienced than your offspring at forging a relationship.

Returning to business, sales process and sales methodology are essentially internal functions. They’re about ‘me’. A good sales process is predicated on your customer’s buying process, but it’s still your process that you are following. Sales methodology helps you analyze how you are doing in the opportunity. Sales skills, however, are about the vendor-and-customer interface, and they deal with the ‘how to do’ things, how to execute things, with the customer. That’s why they cover areas like how to ask questions, how to organize meetings, how to collaborate on problems, how to present what the customer prefers. In other words, how to develop the relationship, and get the ‘we’ focused on the ‘me’.

At The TAS Group, we feel very strongly about this, the execution element of strategy, and in fact it is the subject of our next webinar (May 11). If this topic interests you, please feel free to join us, or please add your comments here, and join in the conversation. I’d love to hear what you think.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Donal Daly
Donal is Founder and CEO of The TAS Group the creators of the Dealmaker intelligent sales software application. Donal also founded Software Development Tools - acquired by Wall Data (NASDAQ: WALL), NewWorld Commerce, The Customer Respect Group and Select Strategies. Donal is author of five books including his recent #1 Amazon Bestseller Account Planning in Salesforce. He can be found on his blog at www.thetasgroup.com/donal-daly-blog or on Twitter @donaldaly

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