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Elevator ButtonsIn the Sales Babble website not only are podcasts published but  blog posts are released weekly on Thursdays. Two recent  posts are of note since they reflect the essence of the Tao Te Ching of Sales.

Four Ways To Stay Ahead of the Competition was published last week on Sales Babble and is a reflection of the Competition is Not Your Enemy posting in September 2013.

“There is no greater illusion than fear,
no greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself,
no greater misfortune than making an enemy of your competition.”

What The Sport Of Fishing Can Teach Sales Professionals is based on the post Fishing For Buyers of November 2013.

“The wise fisherman
Knows they can’t bully the fish to bite.
It takes patience to lure them in.”

In both cases,  the lyricism of the Tao maybe a bit dense for the casual reader.  But the  message is no less relevant to the sales professional and non-seller seller today.   Sales,  as it’s been touted in the past,  is a story that is no longer true.  Pushy bullying no longer works. Timeless sales, as prescribed by this forum, is  focused on the client;  listening for the desires, pains and emotions to discover their true needs. And if this focus is true, the competition takes care of itself.  You will know that the competition is  not the barrier between you and success, but instead you’re the barrier.  Your abilities make or break success. You serving the prospect, client and customer.

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talkinglistening2Listening brings talking.
Talking brings listening.
The interaction of the two
creates discovery.

Without discovery both wants and needs are hidden.
Without wants and needs
there are no prospects
nor buyers.

Listening and talking
Talking and Listening
These are the staples of sales.

50 Dollar BillsThe Seller travels all day
demonstrating products and services.
Even though they have much to show
Buyers do not throw money at them.

Why should they be distracted by gold?
Only fools spend money they don’t have.

The Master Seller stays in touch 
with the needs of the prospect.
They focus on matching needs to products.
They listen for desires they might fulfill.

Sometimes sales professionals get ahead of themselves. In their excitement to make a sale they forget that sales is a case of matchmaking, providing solutions to buyers problems. Sometimes they get distracted with dreams of how their going to spend their commissions. They instead skip the steps it takes to close a sale. By having an attitude of constantly advancing the sale, the money soon will follow.

FjordsCan you  stop your mind from wandering
And focus on what the prospect speaks?
Can you keep your eyes wide
And  awake to the buyers frustrations?
Can you appreciate their needs
Without imposing your will?
And can you close a deal
Without clever tricks and word play?

Selling without selling
Closing without closing
Allowing the sale to advance at its own course,
This the supreme virtue.

Express yourself completely,
then keep quiet.

Be the early morning.
Let the silence ring,
patient,
open,
ready
till the answers spill.

Like a babbling stream
They share frustrations
fears
and even hopes.

If you listen,
You just might
Be able to help.

Enter each sale as a blank canvas
Paint what the prospect sees.

Some clients see their desires clearly
While others have blurred vision.
Remain patient with all.

Paint brush with blank canvass

Some buyers are honest
while others are working some angle.
The Master Seller continues with good humor,
Treating their clients as a parent would a child,
They guide according to their needs.

Over time the prospects become customers.

Bicycle chain and sprockets
Like the seasons
Each sale has a cycle.

Some a few days
Some a few years
Prospects buying when they need to
Not when the sellers needs a sale.

Awake to the buying cycle
The Master Seller generates urgency.

By understanding fears,
frustrations
and desires,
They connect the dots
showing how they can help.

Identifying needs
They create desire.
Closing the deal
It’s done sooner rather than later.

I was reading a LinkedIn forum hosted by the Sales Association and it was discussing what differentiates successful sellers from the rest. Reflecting on some difficult wins I can’t help but think its a case of tenacity and discipline. The sales cycle of some deals can become quite lengthy. And often sales professionals lose interest and the deal withers away.

There is practical day to day explanation about this is in my very first blog post:

“The Master Seller listens before talking
Sells without effort
Sharing without preaching
Explaining without judging
Demonstrating without closing.

Never assuming the sale, the seller never loses one.”

The trick here is they never assume the sale is won. They keep at it; doing all the things we expect of great sales people: following up, keeping in touch, overcoming objections, and genuinely trying to serve. This kind of patience is unusual.

“If you want to speed up the sale
you must give the deal time to breath
If you want to dispel objections
you must allow them to flourish
If you want to take new business
you must give time and patience.

This is the path to success.”

Winning sales folks “stick with it”. They don’t give up. They keep at and again never assume the sales is lost.

If you’d like read more about this you can find the blog posts at https://taotechingofsales.com/2012/11/03/listening/
https://taotechingofsales.com/2012/12/30/path-to-success/

Some want quick answers
Others copious details 
Some a relationship 
Others the bottom line
Some see purchasing a necessary evil
Others a social event.

The Master Seller discovers the prospects buying style 
And tunes their presentation accordingly.
Meeting the buyer where they are at
The sales process is crafted as needed.

The Master Seller listens first
to understand
Before being understood.
By asking,
They receive
Creating opportunities.

Let’s say the Master Seller works for a manufacturing machine company.

Hello,
I’m PAT from MACHINE COMPANY and  I’m calling about the business climate in ANYWHERE USA this MONTH. From what we hear business is improving are you finding that true at XYZ SPROCKETS?

No matter what they say, you say …

Yes  I hear that from others too.
Do you think this is going to continue or get better, get worse?

Listen, listen, listen.

Are you folks doing any new projects that require MACHINING solutions?  

If it sounds like they might be prospects you say….

Who would I talk to about that?  

You might add…

What advice do you have for me? How best can I get in contact  Mr. Snead? 

The trick is to get them to talk. Recall the Master Seller is genuinely interested in Understanding Troubles

Both bartender and psychologist
The Master Seller listens.

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International Business Consultant

What is the Tao Te Ching of Sales?

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