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The Seller's Paradox

by Doug Davidoff | Jan 15, 2013 4:00:00 AM



When I conduct sales training for executives and sales teams, I typically finish with the valuable thought:

"Stop Selling! If you feel like you're selling, you're doing something wrong."

I call it The Seller's Paradox. 

    • The more your focus is on your products, services, or (dare I say) your solutions, the less likely you'll be valued or make a sale.
    • The faster you try to get to the proposal/recommendation stage in your sales process, the longer and less likely you'll be to make a sale.

When you're selling (or building a go-to-market strategy) you must - must - put thoughts about yourself or your interests aside.  This is the entire point of what Demand Creation Selling is all about.  Traditional selling is built on a very weak foundation.  Your active sales time allocation looks something like this:

    • The first 20% of your time is spent on qualification, which is really a one-way check-in for the salesperson to determine if they prospect/customer is capable of buying.  While surface attention is paid to needs assessment, it never goes deep to create value.
    • The next 30% of the time is spent presenting, proposing and trying to convince your prospect/customer of your capabilities.
    • And finally the real dance begins, as 50% (and sometimes more) of the time is spent chasing down the prospect/customer, attempting to overcome objections, negotiate and close the business.

If I had $10 for every time a salesperson or executive I was either coaching or managing said to me that they wish they knew something that came up in the last phase of the process earlier, I wouldn't need an income for several years.

However, if you go against the grain and build a solid foundation, one where you spend  the first half (or more) of your time digging deep and diagnosing, you'll accelerate your sales cycle, and bypass the shop cycle 80% of the time.

Diagnosing means uncovering issues and enabling your prospect/customer to understand their situation and needs, as well as you.  When taking this approach, your prospect/customer stops seeing you as a salesperson, and instead views you as a critical resource to enable them to achieve their critical objective.

When you occupy this spot in their mind, objections, hassles and delays disappear.