The Ethics of Selling

So many people view selling and sales in such a negative light, and that’s easy to understand given most people’s experience of it. But is sales what it used to be? Is it still fair to represent it in our minds by thinking of that pushy salesman trying to convince us to buy things we don’t need or want? Sure, there are still people like that out there – old habits die hard – but there is a changing tide in the world of sales, a shift towards serving through education by truly having the customers best interests in mind.

It shouldn’t be a case of forcing your products or services on your prospects – it should be a case of serving the community around you, and serving more as a consultant for your clients in order to help them find the best product of service that provides the best solution to the challenge (or challenges) they’re facing at the time.

If you’re in sales, it pays to think of yourself more along the lines of a personal shopper, rather than a salesperson. After all, why would you want to waste time trying to convert leads who simply aren’t interested in your product and have no challenge for your service to solve when you can go straight to qualified prospects and give them something they not only need, but that will make their lives better as a result?

Gone are the days of pushy salespeople banging their heads against a brick wall in the vain hope of breaking through and closing the deal for the sake of selling something and moving closer to landing their commission payment for that period.

This is a big part of where salespeople go massively wrong – they’re focused on their outcome rather than their client’s outcome. It’s the same phenomenon as with those people who focus all their efforts on making more money rather than serving more people at a higher level, or those who’s focus is on becoming successful rather than focusing on mastering their art or skill. When focus shifts to the result, we lose focus of the process, and when we lose focus of the process, we miss everything we need to walk the path between where we are and where we want to be… or rather, where our prospects are, and where they want to be.

Let me illustrate the point; if you are focused on closing deals, getting your numbers up and earning your commission, then you won’t achieve (or at least are highly unlikely to achieve, or won’t find it easy to achieve) those goals.  However, when you’re focused on serving your prospects and clients at the highest level, in a way that addresses their real world needs and challenges, then in the process of working with them to find solutions to their challenges you will also inadvertently achieve your desired outcomes.

For example, focus on landing your deal regardless of whether it adds value to your prospect or not and you’ll end up spending a lot of time trying to convert the unqualified lead into a sale, making the process way more lengthy than it needs to be, and you’re likely to piss them off to the point they never want to see you again – never mind do business with you (read, put their faith and trust in you as a vessel to help them connect currently unknown solutions to the problems and challenges they’re facing in life).

However, focus on serving those who you know have problems that match your solutions, and where you know (read: congruently believe) your offering will help them move closer to where they want to be, then you will enjoy more pleasant exchanges, you will spend less than half the time on the conversion process (and way more likely to actually be successful, meaning a vast improvement in your conversion rates), and you’ll more than likely have a client for life (assuming, of course, your product or service is perpetual and has future appeal).

So why are you crap at sales?

Well, in all honesty, the most likely reason is that you hold limiting beliefs about selling to people. Maybe you believe it’s unethical, or you don’t want to be pushy. Perhaps you have a representation in your mind of arrogant salespeople you’ve had to deal with in the past and have a deep seated desire to never be ‘that person’. It’s even possible that you have limiting beliefs around money that are stopping you from closing deals. At the end of the day, if you see sales as a bad thing in your minds eye – for whatever reason – then you’re not going to be a very good salesperson and you certainly aren’t going to enjoy very good conversion rates.

Which isn’t great if you rely on sales for what you do (which, by the way, is pretty much everyone, everyday).

You must shift your thinking around this subject, because it’s not the monster in the closet that a lot of people make it out to be. Thing is, we’re all selling ourselves every single day – every time you meet someone new, join a new group or start a new job, you’re selling yourself to those people in the hope that they will like you and accept you into their social circles. Selling is an intrinsic part of life, because we are such socially based creatures. Without it, we wouldn’t have the global community we enjoy today.

I’m sure we can all agree that ‘selling’ yourself in these situations is perfectly normal and necessary in order for us to progress and live a happy and fulfilled life. So why then is it seen in such a harsh light when viewed in a different context? Well, it’s mainly because sales people used techniques that weren’t in line with how we sell ourselves socially on a daily basis – it was almost cold and mechanical, and this feel inauthentic and manipulative to the recipient.

We need to think of sales in our professional lives in the same way as we think of sales in our personal lives, and when we employ the same techniques the shift in results can be extraordinary. It works because this is how people interact on a daily basis, and everyone understands that it’s these skills that ultimately lead to their successes or failures. It’s not natural to be a cold hearted sales machine, but it is natural to connect people and solutions, and to serve your community. When this is done genuinely, people don’t just see it, they feel it.

So if you want to become better at selling, then you need to shift your intention – then everything else will fall into place. Intend to serve your market, and connect them with products and serving that not only solve the challenges they’re facing in their lives, but also that add massive value to both parties along the way. That’s important, it has to be a two way street – there is no shame in expecting the value you provide to your market to be returned to you, because sales is all about fair exchange. If you give something of value, then you shouldn’t feel guilty taking the equivalent value in return.

Shift your thinking to shift your results, and let go of those limiting beliefs. Serve, and you shall reap the benefits for years to come – both materialistically, and spiritually.

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