Selfish Selling

Most salespeople are selfish. They sell in a self-centered way. Before you clutch your pearls and  exclaim “not me!” or “not MY salespeople!” Please take a minute to reflect. I get it, no one wants to admit to being selfish. And very few selfish people acknowledge their own selfishness. After all, if we already knew we were selfish, we’d be taking steps to change.

“I want to…” 

“I want to” or “I think we should” is ineffective because, at best,  they don’t care what you want or what you think! At worst, they are going to think or do the exact opposite of what you suggest! Let’s face it, you are a salesperson, which is one level below pond scum on the social order. 

Besides, what “you want” to do isn’t the right thing to do because it’s what you want. It’s the right thing to do because it’s what other people like them want to do at this point or it’s the thing to do to best progress them along the path to making a decision. 

Selfish selling: “I want….” 

Selfless selling: “why don’t we” or “In this situation, most people prefer to…” 

“When can we get started?” 

In the last few years, I have interviewed hundreds of salespeople. Am I’m dumbfounded by the number of people who will tell you “I do relationship selling. I’m not very sales” and then, minutes later, will demonstrate questions like “when can we get started” during a role play. “When can we get started” is an assumptive close that is actually DESIGNED to put closing pressure on the prospect! There is not much that is sals-ey-ier or more self that the deliberate application of pressure. 

Selfish selling: “When can we get started?” 

Selfless selling: “What would you like to do next?” 

“Handling” objections

Most strategies for handling objections are about learning to argue effectively. Who wants to argue with a salesperson? Here we have a prospect telling us the naked truth (hallelujah!) and our response is to argue. The time might come where the prospect is open to your ideas or suggestions, but it’s certainly not directly after they’ve shared the tip of the iceberg with a single objection statement. 

“Too expensive.” 

“Let me tell you why!” 

“Not this quarter.” 

“Let me tell you why you’re wrong!” 

Don’t get me wrong - being able to effectively respond to a prospect’s objection is a competency that mediocre salespeople don’t have, but elite salespeople have in spades. But the elite don’t argue, they understand. 

Prospect: “This is too much money.” 

Selfish selling: “Let me tell you about our value…..” 

Selfless selling: “Thanks for sharing. But ‘too much money’, you mean?” 

The only person on a sales call that is qualified to handle the prospect's objections is the prospect themself. And if we truly care about our prospect and want to help him/her/them make the correct decisions, we should empower them to handle their own objections. 

Are you or is anyone on your team committing any of the “selfish” selling mistakes above? 

Rob Lime

Connect with Rob Lime

For 25 years, Lushin has guided business leaders toward intentional, predictable growth.

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