Giving, the Secret Recipe to Improve Your Ability to Sell

Ability to Sell

In today’s digital world, we often celebrate rainmakers and great salespeople. Be it FMCG, technology or consulting solutions, the top dollar is the reward for being able to convince others to buy a product or service. There is more business literature on ‘selling’ than that on all other management disciplines put together. If you look at all the training programmes of corporations across the world, you could see that majority of them deal with sales, directly or indirectly. The scene from Hollywood movie ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’, in which the character portrayed by Alec Baldwin ridicules a bunch of real estate salesmen, is one of the most-watched videos on ‘sales’, and his philosophy, ‘ABC’ – Always be Closing, is on the desk of several entrepreneurs and CEOs. So, where do I differ?
Connect to today, where we view ‘access to markets’ as one of the major challenges facing many a startup and enterprise. I think the entire attitude we have towards sales needs to change. We do not anymore live in the age of limitations where there are only limited resources and many players to beat to gain something. The word competition is also being replaced by co-creation. Bob Burg and John David Mann, through their seminal series of books and videos, postulate that the secret of selling is to ‘give’. Perhaps, it sounds more like hyperbole than an actual fact, but let me explain what I have understood from this tenet.

The Connected, Networked World

We live in the most connected of times. As business professionals, our connections are the pulse of what we have achieved and what we are capable of. How do these connections come about? It comes from giving. When we never hesitate to help someone in need, it creates a goodwill that is inexplicable and not the outcome of some complicated array of strategic moves. This is what we call ‘collaboration commerce’ – business getting created and done through collaboration. It is important to have a network of connected ‘smiles’ around you. It brings happiness and confidence in our abilities.

Win-Win is a Losing Proposition

Often a win-win situation turns into something wherein we secretly observe to make sure that the other person has not got more than what we have got from the deal. We cannot create great relationships in business or in life by keeping track in such a manner. It cannot be a 50-50 proposition, it needs to be a 100 per cent winning proposition for the other person. Focus completely on the success of the other person and move ahead with determination to help him or her achieve what they want. Thus you will walk out with a successful deal, having created a personal ambassador who will respect and like you for the entire life.

Authenticity is the Essence

Any success is often more than 95 per cent the victory of human interaction. And, that results from you being in your genuine authentic self. This comes from the skill of always being ‘you’. You can modulate and synchronise your behaviour with timely principles of human nature, but it is not the ‘wrapping’ that people care for – it is the core product inside the wrapping – You. When you genuinely want the other person to succeed, you will find meaning in the transaction and understand the value of being authentic.

It is important to remember that giving is not part of a roadmap or a strategy or seeding to achieve success in the future. It is also not about developing undue influence by pushing. Gravity always works when you create a pull. You will literally find it impossible to keep pushing. How far can you push a piece of rope? Is it not easier pulling it? It is never about how much push you have on someone. Rather, it is about the pull you exert on them. Remember, people always buy from someone whom they love and trust.

Your ability to sell improves substantially by being responsive to the demands of the other person. It is the most fundamental rule of life – To Win You Need to Give!

(The author is Executive Director-Markets, Kerala & Tamil Nadu, EY and President, TiE Kerala)