The very first sales job I ever had I learned a very valuable lesson: “it’s not about you. It’s about the customer”.
That lesson has stuck with me ever since and illuminated many other areas of my life.
It’s not about me.
It’s about them.
It’s not about my club seat quota or my revenue goal or what’s going on in my life or how I’m feeling today. It’s about what the customer wants and what fits their needs the best. Not mine.
We both know that I have a valuable product. I know what I stand for personally (and what I won’t stand for too) and know I work for a company/team/organization that I believe has a solid foundation of values.
I can tell you about all the features and the widgets and the seat views and how awesome this thing is…but none of it matters unless you make it about the customer and what they want. What REALLY do they want? That’s the real question…and it’s not often what you hear in the first 5-10 minutes of conversation. That leads me to my next point.
The thing about sales is that it’s about people helping people. The moment you step outside that belief and way of being, that’s when it feels weird. Sales is service and great service leads to sales. When you’re not serving, but forcing a product, that’s when you feel “sold” as a customer and when you feel slimy as a sales professional. You can start to see someone pull away, they get tense and start to retreat. Their tone of voice and body language changes. You know what I’m talking about…you’ve probably been on both ends of that spectrum.
People need stuff, sure. And they want some stuff too. They also need someone to care about them and their problem. Sometimes that’s all it takes, someone to listen to their problems and treat them with compassion. Sometimes all you have to do is ask for the sale. Other times you have to lean in a little bit more and really let them FEEL that you have their best interest at heart. Either way, you and your person are as much involved as the actual product.
So let me repeat. It’s not about you. It’s about them. And in many ways, let this be relationship advice too. It’s not about how awesome you are. Someone else just needs to know how much you care, so make it about them. It’s not about you.