Selling is about helping, not manipulating…

I’ve been good at selling for as long as I can remember. I’m a natural salesperson, and it became apparent in the 6th grade when I sold the most chocolate almonds in our grade school and won a 10 lb chocolate bar.

I’m proud to be in sales, it’s a noble profession.

Now at this point, you probably think I’m delusional, and you have probably experienced one of those “slippery,” “pushy” or “arrogant” sales types more than once. Well, we all have!

Just this year I had one of those poor experiences when we were getting quotes for some home renovations. It wasn’t a fun experience, and I could hardly wait until he left.

My wife says that good salespeople love to be sold by other good salespeople. She also says that when you live with a good salesperson, it’s painfully apparent when you deal with a poor salesperson.

You see I believe selling is all about helping. I’ve never been one of those types that looked at a customer as merely a means to an end. For those salespeople that do look at a customer as just a commission check are destined to fail over the long-term.

If you sincerely want to help someone, selling becomes easier. I’ve seen many a salesperson take courses and read books, including myself. When you take these courses, there is so much information and techniques shared. So much that it’s often easy to lose sight of the “forest through the trees” and many do.

For me, I’ve always used the mantra that “Selling is Helping” as my compass. If you genuinely want to help someone you need to focus on helping them make a decision that is in their best interest, not yours. Even if that means you have to walk away from a deal.

Yes, I’ve suggested to customers to go elsewhere at times. To me, it’s helping and not manipulating. Plus, I believe “what comes around goes around.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t give up easily. You see when you are sincerely motivated to help someone when you hear concerns or objections you internally process them and empathize and put yourself in their shoes. Once you are in their shoes, you may realize that they are misunderstanding and need further explanation.

If I know my solution is the right choice, and they don’t see it, it is my job to explain it such that they eventually see what I see, and I’m persistent in my pursuit to do so.

By focusing on helping versus selling it’s a natural conversation, fluid and trust building. When you focus on the technique of selling it often comes across as manipulative and near impossible to build trust with the customer.

To be clear, in no way am I suggesting that salespeople do not take sales courses or read sales books. To the contrary, I recommend it. All I’m saying is that if your “sales compass” is helping people first and foremost training will help you understand their personality and help you convey your message in terms they best understand.

That’s why good salespeople love being sold by good salespeople. It’s a pleasant experience, and you come away feeling like you made the right decision.

Author: Bryan Payne the Chief Talent Scout and Partner at Just Sales Jobs. With over 25-years experience in sales and leading high-performance sales teams. You can reach him at 

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