Be careful what you lead with. You don’t want to lead with this.

Sales is the natural extension of understanding the marketplace’s problems and then providing the solution to those. That’s all it is. You’ve got a problem. I’m here to help with the solution. Done. You and I either see eye-to-eye and a sale is made or we don’t and it isn’t. It’s simple. After I’ve reflected back your problems to you and I present my solution and you get it, we’re in. If you don’t get it and you don’t get my explanation further, we’re not in. that’s why the deeper I can go with understanding your problems and reflecting them back to you, the better off we’ll both be. I didn’t start with product. I started with understanding you first. I started with listening to you first. I started with helping you feel understood first. This is a powerful approach because it starts with empathy. I have a willingness to begin with you, not with me and my stuff. And people love me for it. I showed up and I listened first. And I blew them away because of it.

What are you leading with? If you’re leading with your stuff, you’re turning everybody off and may not even know it. People have heard enough from typical sales guys. What they haven’t done enough is explain what they’re going through enough to people who will listen. They haven’t done this enough because they still don’t feel listened to. As a sales guy, you can give the gift of making others feel understood by taking good notes, empathizing with the customer and reflecting back to them what it is they’re sharing with you. This makes you stand out in the best possible way. It also builds strong rapport between people.

They really don’t care what you know until they know that you care. You have to prove you care first. You prove that you care first by showing them that you have a solid grasp on their problem. You took the time to understand what they’re going through first. You know the problem so well that you can explain it to them in a straightforward fashion. Then, they realize that, oh, you care and took the time to show them you care first. Now, they can trust you. Now, they can like you and get to know you better. But not before they know you care first.

In sales & marketing, we have to address the customer’s problem first. If we don’t do this, we’re leading with the product and we’re telling the prospect how great it is before he makes the connection. Well, there likely will not even be a connection because when people lead with product, they turn others off. They’re not even in the paying attention game. They’re off in their minds somewhere because the sales guy just lead with his product, his stuff. He never took the time to lead with the prospect’s stuff, with the prospect’s problems. So, he’s losing people left and right and wondering why. If only he had taken the time to address and prove to the prospect that he understands his problems and needs first. Everyone would have been much better off.

Great sales & marketing solve problems. Yes, both of them. They’re complementary. Both prove that what you’ve got is the solution to your prospect’s problems. Great sales & marketing create unpaid salespeople on a company’s behalf. Great sales & marketing keep creating new customers and keep existing customers happy. Great sales & marketing make others promoters. Great sales and marketing allow companies to thrive and to take chances where they normally would not.

What great sales & marketing are really all about is change. We are looking to effect positive change in the marketplace. Sure, we want to see our stuff sold. Sure, we want to earn repeat buyers. Sure, we want to spend less money on customer acquisition. But what we really want is to sell people on the positive change we seek to make for them. That’s what we want. We’re offering them transformation. We’re here to make sure that they aren’t stifled or stymied. We are here to help them solve problems. They want their problems solved. We desire to help them. Great sales & marketing help people solve problems.

Not everyone is going to be ready for the change you seek to make in the marketplace. Some people will be scared of your efforts, preferring the status quo. They will especially not be ready for your change if they are a dominant player already successful within the market. Why would they seek to change? This is where your powers of persuasion and salesmanship really come into place. You’ll need to meet them where they’re at, not where you are coming from. You’ll need to empathize with them and support their point of view. You’ll need to be on his side first before you try to pitch him on your stuff. This will open him up to other points of view, and he must be open first before he is willing to listen to your stuff. So, don’t lead with your stuff. Lead with his stuff. Let him make his point of view heard. He must feel heard first before he’ll listen to you. Give him the gift of being heard. Then, go forward with your material. People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. You show you care by listening to them first, hearing them out first, letting them have their say first. Then, you can move forward with what you’ve got. Don’t be in a hurry to bash them over the head with your products or solutions. Be in a hurry to listen. That stands out. That gets attention. That gets appreciation. In this way, you earn your customer’s attention because you heard them out first. You must listen before you can pitch.

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I’m a sales, marketing and tech Pro who creates content designed to help people solve problems and shift perspectives.

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