What Is Sales
Selling means different things to different people, and I'll just give you my view of this. For some people, throughout all of history, we've had things of value to exchange, and that's what we do when we're selling. I have something of value to you, and we make some sort of exchange. And it can be built up to be a lot more than this, but at its heart, that's what selling really is. It's really about a conversation. There's a sales conversation that happens between individuals, and there's certain commitments that are made. And that's really the whole game, is can you have the conversations, and can you have these commitments, and do we keep these commitments together on a path to change, so we create greater value? It's also a commercial enterprise. That's what a commercial enterprise does. It's a sales organization. That's how you create value in the world. It's also a role or a job. And this is the part where the creatives are like, I would never be a salesperson. You should have st...
ayed with the hair metal band. That's a better choice. You're at least creating art. But I think that what we do is art. And if you're an artist and you don't wanna be a starving artist, then you're gonna need to sell. But every business exists for one reason, and that's to create value, and we do that through sales. So, I wanna give you just a couple ideas about this. For the people at home who are not a salesperson and don't have that role, I'll just remind you that you started selling when you were about two, and you started demanding things from other people. And if you have children, you know what this is like. They're the best salespeople on earth. They'll come up and they'll ask really nice, can I please have that? And then you say, no I don't think so. And they, can I have that? I want this. And then they start changing their approach to you, right? And they start, and then they learn to trade value. They say, if you give me the ice cream, I'll go to bed at nine o'clock. And you're like, that's a good trade. Deal, you get the ice cream. That's still a conversation that you're having, right? And I don't recommend that you throw the temper tantrum part. That's not a great approach for adults. But you do have to change your approach and you have to figure out what value you trade. That's really what selling is about. And I wanna talk about a couple things, and I'm only gonna be able to walk up that far to have this conversation with Dave. The challenge that a lot of us have with sales is this connotation and the stereotype that's gone around sales for a long time, is that it's always be closing. A always, B be, C closing. We had to take the Alec Baldwin picture off of there, but you know it from Glengarry Glen Ross. And that was bad advice for people. It says, use high pressure, give people the hard sell. And so I know a few things about you. Oh, he's putting his book down. He's like, wait, I'm being approached by a salesperson. Time to defend myself.
Are you married?
Yes, I am.
What's your wife's name?
Kate. Oh, I need a microphone. What's your wife's name?
My wife's name is Kate.
Do you love your wife?
I love my wife very much.
Do you have children?
What are their names?
Their names are Graham and Gigi.
If something were to happen to you, would you want Kate to be taken care of?
If something were to happen to you, would you want Graham and
Gigi to go to college?
Would you want them to have all of these things in life?
I need you to sign this agreement right now because we need to make sure that Kate and Gigi are all taken care of.
Absolutely, I will.
That's a high pressure technique. And that's what we don't do anymore. And you never have to do that. I show you this because you never have to do that with someone. You never have to try to pressure them to buy anything. That's not what selling is about. Selling is about serving someone else. And if you have to get to pressure, then you're doing it wrong. And if people teach you that you have to do it using some sort or pressure, those are people you should ignore because this relationship is important. You're there to serve someone else. And it's easier when you operate from a place of service. That was bad advice, but then about eight or nine years ago we started to give equally bad advice, which was if always be closing is bad, then it must be never be closing. So you should never ask anybody for anything because you're imposing on them. And that was horrible advice because it assumes that the buyer actually knows how to get what they want. And if they knew how to get what they want, they would already have it. And if they knew how to make those decisions they wouldn't need a salesperson to help 'em with this. So it turned into never be closing, which is still terrible advice. Because what selling really is is a series of commitments. And this is lost art of closing. And it's a lost art because nobody pays attention to what it really takes, and we have sales processes and buyer's journeys, and all these things, but we leave out the part of the conversation where we create value. And these are the commitments, and this is what we're gonna talk about, and we're gonna weave this through our discussion today completely. I have to ask people to give me a commitment for time. We have to be able to spend time together to figure out how to take care of what that person needs. Then we have to have a commitment to explore change. So we're gonna have to have conversations about what needs to be different. Why does it need to be different? What should you be doing now? And then we have to ask somebody, does it make sense to change? We've explored these issues. Is this something that makes sense for you to do now? After that, when we're at our very best, we're gonna ask them to collaborate with us. We're gonna look at a solution and say, this is what I think the right answer might be. How does this work for you? What else do you think you need? And we're gonna build something together. When we're doing our best work, and especially if you're a creative, and there's lots of choices and lots of ways to get to a right solution, then you're gonna collaborate so you get something that works. After you're done with that you're gonna get consensus. If you're a creative and you sell to a company, there's more people involved in that sale than you might imagine. For you in B2B sales, CEB Gartner says it's 6.8 people. So you've got seven people that you have to figure out, how do I get everybody on this team to agree that this is a right decision moving forward? And then, the difficult part; and we'll spend time talking about this later on. We have to talk about money. We have to talk about the investment. And we'll talk about what you do when you hear the dreaded line, I'm gonna need you to sharpen your pencil. Even though nobody even has a pencil anymore, right? We don't have any pencils. It's all done on a computer. Then we're gonna have to look at the solution to make sure that everything is right, and resolve the concerns. And this is the part where most deals, B2B, or B2C go wrong. Somebody has a concern, we leave it unaddressed, and then they can't make the decision because they're not confident yet moving forward. When we get to that point now we can make the ask. And so always be closing assumed that this decision to ask for the business comes way earlier. And it comes way later. And what we'll talk about today is how you go through this process, and when we get to the end of it, this ask is the easiest thing you'll ever do, and it's the most easy decision for anyone to make when you've done everything right up to this point. And then we'll talk about execution. Because it doesn't matter if you sell something. If they can't use it and they don't get the value, you're not serving that client, and you'll never get the absolute right to have their next deal. And the people that are sitting here in this audience are shaking their head because this is the truth, and this is how sales works today. I'm gonna give you just a little bit about my philosophy so you understand where I'm coming from today. In all human relationships, my opinion is fast is slow, and slow is fast. And so, when you see a scary chart with 10 commitments on it you think, how long does that take? If you want it to go faster, you go through those conversations, and you go slow, and you help bring people along. And the more confident the feel as they get brought along that process, the easier it is for you to have the relationship that will allow you to make the ask for their business, and begin serving somebody. The faster you try to go, which means for most of us, skipping ahead to the part where we give someone a proposal, then the harder it is for someone to say yes because they didn't have all these conversations. Does that make sense? If it does, say yes.
Good, they said yes. You say yes at home too. This is my view. Selling is about creating enough value for other people, and that means I care about helping someone get an outcome. So, at its heart, and especially if you're a creative, but especially if you're B2B too, if you go and you care about other people, and we'll talk about this, there's probably not a more, if there's a killer app in sales, it's caring. If I think you care about me, and I believe you're gonna help me get the outcome that I want, I'm gonna prefer to work with you. If I think you care about you, and your commission cheque, and your quota, I'm gonna buy from somebody else because it's too self-oriented, and you tend to project that. So I'll close with this: Selling is something that you do for someone, and with someone. And you never have to do something to someone. What you wanna do is make sure that you take care of people along the way, so that this is the easiest decision they make. And now we have just a few minutes for a Q and A.
Thank you so much, Anthony. So, I know your work. I bought your book. I love you. Not in a weird way.
It's a little weird, like saying that right here.
Yeah, it's a little weird. I'm just saying it on camera, 'cause I think it needs to be noted. You've inspired me, and when I look at my business and B2B; I work for LinkedIn, Enterprise Sales, it was hard for me to change my mindset on... I mean, I understand serving, 'cause that's my why. But actually looking at my, where I've taken people, and going, dammit, I should have done it a different way. 'Cause there is definitely, I think, a give and take. You have to understand the person. You have to understand their business. And you have to understand what is it that you're solving for. And that's sales 101. But when you get to the mindset piece, how do you get to that point of seeing it this way when you've been trained in different methodologies?
I think that's it. I think that's the root of it, is that we've been trained to go in and follow a process that assumes that if I do this, this, and this, then I get this outcome. But, if you do it, and then you're not doing it from a place where the mindset is I'm trying to actually serve and help this person, it can be very self-oriented. It can be about you. And the challenge that we have is there's really two things that can happen when you're compensated for creating that result. So, for some people the compensation and the fact that they can get a commission causes them to behave very badly. Like, I'm gonna try to do something to you because I want this money. And those people act bad. But the truth of the matter is the more you get rid of those behaviors, the high pressure, the speeding up of the process, the not bringing the right people into the conversation, the more you undo the fact that you're compensated for creating a result. And sales is honestly the only place where we get a reward for winning, and we get nothing for losing. And that's the way that it works. So, you have to shift your mindset, and you have to understand that to go fast you go slow. To get somebody to sign up to work with you specifically, they have to believe that you have their best interests at heart. So the more time you spend with someone, developing the trust, working to understand, and we'll talk about this today, developing the intimacy, which we'll talk about today too, because intimacy means you know me, you understand me, I believe that you're here to help me and serve me, then the faster all of these things go. And those behaviors are the behaviors that you are actually rewarded for. So for a lot of people, we have to unwind some of the things that they've been taught in the past to say, when you try to behave this way, what you're actually doing is repelling people away from you. And you wanna pull people in. And you only do that through treating other people exactly how you would wanna be treated. Or, I'll say it another way. Who would you want selling to your aging parents or your grandparents? You want that person that's gonna go and take care of people. That's what everybody wants in this relationship. I want somebody that cares enough about me to help me get this result. And that's really the mindset. It does mean you have to undo some of the training to say, to shorten the cycle, I actually have to take more time in every interaction to make sure that everybody's taken care of. Is that helpful?