Perhaps the most dangerous misunderstanding of the sales role in business, is the incorrect assumption that “selling” someone involves getting them to do something against their will. This mindset leads to all kinds of misunderstandings, and understandably so, to prospects hiding from sales people. 

We just celebrated the 4th of July. America’s birthday. In a few days, my country of origin celebrates July 14th, their national birthday. Both these countries, heavily influenced by each other (The French revolution followed and was inspired by the American revolution, and the leading thinkers of the American revolution were heavily influenced by their time spent in France, with thinkers like Beaumarchais and others).  The concepts and ideas were similar, but there are few key differences, and one of them translates to sales. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson uses specific language missing from the French equivalent documents. He writes that all governments are created:

“deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

In other words, the power to rule comes from those who are ruled. I love this concept. It is a big part of why I became an American. I strongly believe that the same concept exists in sales. We sell our clients products and services deriving our sale from the consent of the sold.

Sales is not, and should never be a matter of convincing or pressuring someone to buy. The science of sales, properly applied, is about empowering our clients to discover our solution is a fit for their needs, and if any pressure is applied, it is the pressure to make a decision (yes, or no) and not the pressure to buy.

This might seem obvious, but it is often forgotten in the application. As you go through sales training of any kind, you should always be looking at the tactical things being taught with the backdrop of this “consent of the sold”. If the techniques you are being taught do not reconcile with it, you may be working for the wrong company, selling the wrong product, or being led by the wrong people….or all three possibly.

This does not mean we cower down and let clients push us around. It does not mean we do not ask for our fair price for the value we bring. This is not about capitulating to the client’s every whim or request. It is about getting clients to agree to the next step, whatever the next step is. If the next step is a no, then we move on. If the fit becomes obvious, we can politely suggest it. Clients should feel like they bought something, not that they were sold something.