Selling in Three-Part Harmony

I am fascinated by sales.

The sale is the point at which the personal meets the commercial. How we view the personal / commercial relationship informs how we look at business in general.

So it’s instructive to read those who write on sales. The reigning sales author of our time has to be Jeffrey Gitomer. As of this writing, on Amazon’s best-seller list of Sales and Selling, he has books at the numbers 5, 9, 13, and 17 slots.

Popularity doesn’t necessarily mean quality, nor does quality guarantee best-seller status.  But both hold true in Gitomer’s case.

Some sales people write about sales process, management and strategy. Gitomer is an unabashed throwback to the “old” sales gurus—he speaks to the individual who sells. He speaks about the intersection between the commercial and the personal.

Here’s an excerpt from his new Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching!

I’m certain you have seen or heard the information about “typing” people. Driver, amiable, creative, whatever. And then you’re told ways of manipulating what you do or say to be able to communicate with them.

Go back to the Dale Carnegie book How to Win Friends and Influence People, and you’ll see the two words that explain harmony: “Be yourself.”

Selling is about understanding the other person. Each person has different motives to buy based on personality and needs. Salespeople cannot give the same presentation all the time. You’ve got to adapt the presentation to meet the needs and the personality of the potential customer without compromising your standards or altering your personality to a point where you have to remember the way you acted or spoke.

I’m against systems of selling. They teach you a way, usually a manipulative way. And you gotta use that way. The problem is the probable purchaser may not want to buy that way. Which way do you sell?

Why people buy is ONE BILLION times more powerful than how to sell…

Harmony is understanding, sensing the tone and comfort level of the customer, and using your character skills and interpersonal skills to harmonize. Your job is to take the characteristics of the probable purchaser and blend them with the reason they are buying so that it motivates them to act and gives them enough confidence to buy.

THINK! about harmony in music. Your notes blend with other notes to create harmony.

Think of it the same way in sales. Think of it the same way in business.

If Gitomer is in your town (and he will be), treat yourself to a ticket to one of his seminars.  He’s a showman.  His schtick is a working-class, red Staples-type sweatshirt gruff cigar-chomping straight talking regular guy. The last guy to get all philosophical on you. But he does get philosophical on you; he just does it in the vernacular.  (He is a regular guy—and regular like a fox).

Gitomer’s view is clear. Business is personal. It is not just about systems and forces and corporate battles.  It necessarily involves people relating to people—as full people, not just as cogitating neurons.

And his metaphor is powerful. Business as music. In particular, the harmonic element of music; the element that speaks to collaboration. Business in his view is inherently about collaboration, interaction—not a series of parallel solos.

Think of business as commerce—a relationship that is either competitive or collaborative.

It’s up to the seller, more than anyone else, to choose which it shall be.