Sales Babble

StartI’ve decided to embark on a new adventure and start a podcast called Sales Babble. While the Tao Te Ching of Sales was focused on the Master Seller, Sales Babble will focus on the novice seller. I believe this new forum will allow me to better help the sales community in ways this blog could not.

I’m excited to start this new adventure despite the huge learning curve. Yet we know from the Tao that our lives  are always in motion. That the world  is a river, winding through rock and wood. It is never static, never stuck,  but instead alive and ephemeral. My life is no different.

I deeply appreciate the subscribers who have been following this forum for the past two years. It has been a joyous effort and expression of the art of sale. I anticipate turning these posts into a book and have worked on it off and on. I also anticipate I’ll continue to post here when the mood  strikes. The Tao is like that. The Master Seller is often inspired by the events of the day. That event creates opportunity and a teachable moment. When that moment occurs you can assure a new post will be published. The Master Seller can do no other. I hope someday to be that person.

In the meantime I urge you to listen to an episode that was made specifically for friends and followers of the Tao Te Ching of Sales.


You can find the post at

See you there.


Making Sales Mean Something, Guest Post by Amy Putkonen

Most of us need to sell something, at sometime, in our lives. Be it an interview for a job, a cause on some committee, the raising of a child, or the wooing a potential mate, sales is skill that has value for all. This a guest post by Amy Putkonen, who regularly writes about how to apply the Tao Te Ching to daily life. She has kindly shared her thoughts regarding the intersection of sales and leadership.

Sales is a dance between you and your client.

Everyone wants to be recognized. In Chapter 17 of the Tao Te Ching (http://, Lao Tzu says that the greatest leader is the one that is least known. A great leader knows that people just want to be recognized and so they help people to recognize their own accomplishments. When leading is done well, people do not feel that they have been led. They feel that they have created their own accomplishments. This is the natural way.

A great salesperson does this for people, too.

With sales, it is better if the interest in your product comes from within your client. But how can you help to trigger that interest? What is it about your product or your service that the person finds captivating? Do your clients desire your products because they will be helped in some way?

When you have accomplished this desire, sales is a moot point. In your client’s mind, they have already bought your product. There is no need to “sell” them on the idea. At this point, sales is more about just closing the deal.

The deeper this desire goes, the better.

What is your company vision? What is it that you are really trying to do for people? If the quality of this vision can make the hair stand up on your arms, then you know you’ve got something! There is a richness that people are craving from business these days.

People want authenticity.

People want their products to mean something. Every day, we are inundated with meaningless junk. How does what you are offering stand above all of that? Is it just more junk or is there something that you can give that will change people’s lives in some way?

You can’t fake authenticity.

It can’t be over-emphasized. If your desire to help people is not authentic, people can sense it. You want your message to be very clear. You are here to help people change their lives. When that message is consistent and strong and does not falter, that is what you are going for. When people start to see your message, when they start to recognize that message is also what they want, they will get behind you on that.

Your message will become their own.

When your idea becomes their own, that’s when it is really powerful. If you can be a leader in your cause, whatever that cause happens to be, you’ve got people generating a cause on their own.

That’s when you know you really have something.


Amy Putkonen writes regularly about the Tao Te Ching at her blog, Tao Te Ching Daily. She challenges you to reflect on Taoist principles in real life situations and see where it takes you. Stop by and say hello!

Lead From Behind

Clipping of Lau-Tzu Quotes

This week I came across one of my first exposures to the Tao, a clipping from the Wall Street Journal. At the time I was a lead software engineer for cellular networking features at Lucent Technologies. My team consisted of a half-dozen engineers of multiple age, experience, and ethnicities. It was a new challenge, and a challenge it was.

The clipping had a quote from Lao Tze that said “to lead the people, walk behind them,” and “when the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves'”. Previous to this project I commonly micro managed and ordered the team to do this and that, in a manner I thought managers should act. From that behavior came strife, troubles and fear. I wanted to do something different on this new project and I embraced this notion of “walking behind.”

One of the team members, Serge, came up to me 6 months wondered why I was not “on his case” everyday and why he let some team member struggle and not just order them to do it my way. I showed him the clip and he smiled. From then on he understood this management approach. All of the code written on that project looked like I had personally coded it. It had my style and beliefs in both comments and design. But each member thought they had “did it”. They took great pride and responsibility for their part. In the end the project was a success and deployed to a large Toll Switch (long distance) in London England called Mondial. It was on this project I was awarded two Patents.

Lao Tze’s teachings about management can be well applied to the management of sales accounts. A Master Seller leads from behind, delving deep into the needs of the prospect, discovering their pain, crafting a solution that might work, coaching the prospect into being a buyer, and soon customer. This leading from behind is true leadership. And when done skillfully, the buyer hardly notices it.

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