Andy Paul, a sales professional with more than four decades of top-flight experience, provides excellent sales advice and numerous well-tested sales ideas. Paul repeatedly counsels you to deliver genuine value, and then he tells you how. He urges salespeople to abandon standard, pushy scripts. Instead, he outlines a humane approach to selling. Paul’s system calls for diligently learning what’s important to your prospects in terms of the products and services they must buy, tuning into their perspective, and then delivering what they want and need. His uplifting sales strategy offers a win-win for salespeople and their clients. After all, as he emphasizes, salespeople win when their buyers win.
- Don’t be a “sales zombie.”
- Many sales managers teach salespeople to be pushy, a stereotype no one likes.
- Don’t sell out, “sell in.”
- Heed the “Sell In Pillars: Connection, curiosity, understanding and generosity.”
- Connection – To forge a link with your prospects, be warm and empathetic.
- Curiosity – If you show sincere interest in your customers, they’ll feel important, and you’ll be able to gather valuable information.
- Understanding – As you learn about your clients, work to figure out what’s important to them.
- Generosity – When you’re good to your prospects, they’ll be good to you.
Don’t be a ”sales zombie.”
Sales zombies, pushy salespeople who never evolve, are everywhere. They turn off prospects and undermine legitimate sales professionals. Zombie salespeople are “salesy sellers,” insincere and cynical. As a result, they never learn anything new or improve themselves. They give both sales and salespeople a terrible name.
“Sales zombies…[are salespeople who] just blindly follow…a process wherever it goes, without a plan of their own to improve or deliver.”
Sales zombies fail to forge a real connection with their prospects. They only pitch, often badly or even offensively.They try to sell to potential clients without asking or learning anything about them. Sales zombies just declare the message that matters to them from their one-sided salesbook: Buy! Buy! Buy!
You don’t have to be a sales zombie. You don’t have to sell out. Instead, you can adopt an entirely different, more admirable and more livable path: “selling in.” Sales professionals who sell in – that is, they focus their sales efforts on what their prospects really want – find meaningful fulfillment in selling. No matter what their sales circumstances may be, they can perform as the “best version” of themselves. Those who use the sell-in approach achieve superior sales results on honorable terms. They give sales – and themselves – a good name.
Many sales managers teach their salespeople to be pushy, a stereotype no one likes.
At its most basic level, selling is simple – or it should be. By listening carefully to your prospects, you can discern what matters to them and what they care about most, and then – if that’s what your product or service provides – you deliver it to them.
In their own way, many sales managers regard sales as too formulaic. They often try to convince their salespeople – who know better – that selling isn’t complicated. Often, sales managers teach techniques and methods that look good at first but fall apart when you examine them closely. The problem is, these tactics usually have nothing to do with how the real world works. They don’t align with the way most salespeople see themselves, and they have nothing to do with helping buyers attain their objectives.
“You have a choice. Sell out your future, your values and yourself for possible short-term gain. Or stay true to yourself and create success on your own terms.”
Although you may be initially impressed with what your hard-charging sales manager tries to teach you, deep down you are likely to feel that a take-no-prisoners sales style goes against your sense of appropriateness, morality and professionalism.
Nevertheless, you accept your manager’s guidance as the word of the boss and try to sell accordingly. You may even feel as though your corporate culture forces you to sell out every time you go to work. You become someone you don’t like, don’t recognize and never wanted to be.
Selling out is horrible, a form of surrender. You feel creepy and burned out. But, you don’t need to follow that path.
Don’t sell out, “sell in.”
Instead of selling out, sell in. When you sell in, you can succeed and still remain the conscientious person you are – or grow to become the person you want to be.
“Selling in clicks because it is natural, innate human behavior. We are wired to connect, to be curious, to understand and to be generous. Being human is the shortest path to helping your buyers get what is most important to them.”
You can honor your personal values and live according to them every day. Each step you take at work and in sales can align with your moral code. If you put your clients’ needs first, you’ll be far more comfortable, professional, at ease and successful.
Heed the “Sell In Pillars: Connection, curiosity, understanding and generosity.”
The four sell-in pillars are the foundation of every sale; all the rest is window dressing. Using the sell-in pillars enables you to sell to clients without having to persuade them with outdated tactics, coercion or manipulation.
“A substantial portion of every purchase decision is based on how the buyer feels about their experience working with you, the seller.”
The beauty of the four pillars is that if you make a genuine connection, express curiosity about your buyers, offer understanding and behave with generosity, you can have a positive impact on your prospects. When they reflect on their conversations with you and ask themselves about you and your offering, they’ll have only positive answers to questions such as why should they trust you, do business with you or let you help shape their decisions. You can put the four sell-in sales pillars to work as the support structure of your work and your success.
Connection – To forge a link with your prospects, be warm and empathetic.
When you connect with your prospects “at a human level,” you positively influence them as you sell to them. You want them to feel as if they are valued participants in something more purposeful than a discussion about sales.
Avoid the routine scripts and uninformed questions that prospects routinely get from sales zombies.Instead, establish a person-to-person connection and ask “insight questions” to establish your credibility and earn their trust. An insightful query requires prospects to pause and think about it for a moment and consider its implications before they respond. Such questions create learning opportunities for both prospects and salespeople.
You might introduce a detailed, insightful question by telling clients that you collaborate with companies similar to theirs and that these companies have enjoyed productivity gains as a result of your collaboration.
“You can’t persuade someone to buy a solution that doesn’t exist to solve a problem they’re not aware they have.”
Talk to your existing customers for guidance in developing your insight questions. For example, you might ask which of your offerings generates the best ROI for them. Such questions inform your prospects that companies like theirs are profiting from using your products or services. Create questions that demonstrate that you are informed, credible, experienced, and interested in them and in working with them.
When you connect meaningfully with prospects, you make them feel valued, and you change how they view you. They stop seeing you as someone who simply wants to sell them something, and they come to view you as a warm, empathetic person of depth and character.
People don’t buy from salespeople they don’t trust. You can’t pitch prospects on why they should trust you. They will trust you – or not – because of who you are when you interact with them, not because of how you pitch or try to manipulate them.
How can you forge a connection quickly? Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone, suggests asking prospects for ways you could work together to help them achieve their goals as soon as possible. He suggests using the question, “What’s the fastest way I can help you?” This approach builds bridges; it’s far removed from the typical sales pitch with its inner nuance of “How can you help me?” To connect, genuine interest, be helpful, make people feel good about themselves and deliver tangible value.
Curiosity – If you show sincere interest in your customers, they’ll feel important, and you’ll be able to gather valuable information.
When you are genuinely curious, you position yourself to learn everything you need to know about your prospects, starting with their product and service needs, but including their obstacles, challenges, dilemmas, limitations and aspirations.
Asking the right questions helps you identify their primary market opportunities, so you can help them make the most of these openings.
Exhibiting curiosity secures valuable information, and it’s a smart psychological move. By showing curiosity, you make your prospective clients feel important and interesting. Such positivity increases their sense of self-worth and supports your best interests as a salesperson.
“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” (sales trainer Zig Ziglar)
The quickest way to shut down any prospects’ interest is to subject them to standard sales-zombie “scripted questions” that have nothing to do with them. Prospects detest this minefield, so avoid it. Instead, turn to the informed, insightful questions you prepared. They demonstrate your genuine interest in your prospects and their priorities.
If you handle this gracefully and show authentic interest, most prospects will respond, open up and tell you their stories. Focus on those stories to deduce what your prospects care about most, then do everything in your power to help them get it.
Understanding – As you learn about your clients, work to figure out what’s important to them.
When you work to understand your prospects, you acknowledge the importance of their words, goals and ideas. Such understanding is vital. It’s not enough to know your prospects’ “pain points” and preferred outcomes; you also need to understand their primary concerns.
The old adage that the person “with the most information wins” isn’t true. Your competitors may possess vast knowledge, but it’s of little use to them if they don’t understand their potential buyers. Never settle for information or data alone; strive for a complete understanding of your clients’ business situation. To get the knowledge you need, ask the insightful questions you prepared in advance and pay close attention to the answers. This will equip you with new awareness and enable you to engage collaboratively with potential clients and help them address their market weaknesses.
“The seller with the best understanding wins.”
Through this collaborative process, help your buyers explore and capitalize on promising opportunities. Prospects who value your understanding and expertise will feel closer to you emotionally and will like you more. That matters. Salespeople can’t sell products or services to prospects who don’t like them.
Generosity – When you’re good to your prospects, they’ll be good to you.
Generosity is a crucial component of the sales process. In sales, generosity calls for providing things of value to your prospects to help them achieve their sought-after goals. As a salesperson who can help make positive things happen for your buyers, paint a detailed, compelling picture of how wonderful things can be for them when they buy from you.
Being generous with your buyers is a core component of “buyer-centric” selling, placing your clients at the center of your marketing and sales efforts. However, buyer-centric selling doesn’t mean sticking to outdated “stage-based” selling that positions the buyer as an annoying obstacle to making a sale. Buyer-centric selling means prioritizing the clients’ needs and helping your clients attain them. Once you know what your customers consider most important, do everything you can to help them fulfill their goals.
“Having a positive impact on the lives of others is its own reward. And it’s also the path to winning more deals.”
Some sales managers see such generosity as a weakness but being open-handed and delivering great value both fuel reciprocity from your prospects. In this win-win scenario, the salesperson succeeds when the client does, and vice-versa. The client then reciprocates by buying more, recommending you to others, and becoming a champion for you and your offerings.
Table of Contents
Author’s Note 1
Introduction | Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change 3
1 What Human Being Acts This Way? 13
2 Stand Out or Sell Out 19
3 Selling to Humans | What Your Buyers Need from You 25
4 You’re Not the Boss of Me | Seize Control of How You Sell 33
5 Death to Salesy 41
3 Influence Rules, Persuasion Drools 49
Intermission | Are You a Sales Leader or Merely a Sales Boss? 57
7 There’s One Question Every Buyer Will Ask You 63
8 The Sell In Pillars | Selling without Persuasion 73
9 Connection 83
10 Curiosity 113
11 Understanding 141
12 Generosity 161
13 The “Secret” Sales Accelerator 191
Conclusion | Don’t Be a Sales Zombie 203
About the Author
Andy Paul is number eight on LinkedIn’s list of the “Top 50 Global Sales Experts” to follow. He hosts “Accelerate Your Sales!”
The book is a manifesto for salespeople who want to succeed without compromising their values, authenticity, and integrity. The author, Andy Paul, is a sales expert, entrepreneur, and podcaster who challenges the conventional wisdom and myths of selling. He argues that persuasion is not a sales skill, but a blunt instrument that sellers use when they don’t know how to influence the choices their buyers make. He proposes a new approach to selling, called Sell In, which is based on four pillars: Connection, Curiosity, Understanding, and Generosity. These pillars are the essential instruments of selling that enable sellers to build trust, rapport, and value with their buyers. The book explains how to apply these pillars in various stages of the sales process, from prospecting to closing. The book also provides practical tips and tools for sellers to improve their skills, mindset, and performance. The book is not only a guide for salespeople, but also a call for action to change the culture and perception of selling in the world.
The book is an inspiring and insightful read for anyone who wants to sell better and smarter. It is well-written, clear, and engaging, with plenty of stories and examples from the author’s own experience and from other successful sellers. The author does a great job of debunking the myths and stereotypes of selling, such as being pushy, manipulative, or salesy. He shows how selling can be a noble and rewarding profession that helps people solve their problems and achieve their goals. He also shows how selling can be a creative and innovative activity that requires constant learning and improvement. The book is suitable for both beginners and experienced sellers who want to take charge of their own career and success on their own terms. The book is also motivating and empowering, as it shows how sellers can make a positive impact and difference in the world by selling without selling out. The book is a must-read for anyone who wants to master the art of selling in.