By Raju Mandhyan
SELLING is a process, and the stages of this process can be nebulous. It takes a while to understand and master the process, and the stages differ from industry to industry. These stages also continuously change over time as trends, technology, and theories of doing business evolve.
In the 1950s, transactional selling was the trend. Sales professionals drew attention to their products and services, generated the desire to buy in the buyer’s mind, and then moved in to close the deal. The process was sales person-driven and was typically a one-way street called Push.
In the 1980s when the range of products and services began to grow and the roads to market became congested, companies employed efforts to sell their products and services based on improved features, better advantages and increased benefits for the customer. The traffic in the business of selling was still jam-packed but the sales process had to become shrewd and tactical.
By the 1990s and into the new millennium, the world had had enough of being a material world and the trends became a lot more strategic and ecological. Sales professionals began learning to walk in the shoes of their customers. They began to think in terms of providing long-term ecological and sustainable solutions for their customers. The selling world began to realize that the hit-and-run techniques of the past weren’t working and did not make business sense or monetary logic. At the turn of the century and deep into the second decade of the 21st century, the profession of selling and the business it represented began to think in terms of the big picture, in systems. The business world and the selling profession realized the power and the wisdom of being altruistic, eco-conscious, value creators in the world.
This does not, at all, mean profits and profit making have been put aside. It means people have realized the long-term sense of nurturing and sustaining the resources from planet Earth. They have realized that all people are inter-connected. Exploiting and taking advantage of one group of people eventually harms many others and affects the entire world. Business and professional sales people have realized that making better use of the Earth’s resources and treating people fairly makes mighty good business sense. This is how smart businesses reap huge profits year after year.
Selling from the heart is, yes, about closing more deals, but it is also about being ethical in approach, conscientious in analysis, and creative in proving value-creating solutions. Above all, it’s about making sure the interventions provided do no systemic harm to the consumer, to the company, and to the ecology. Thus, it is not about greedily closing deals in the old way but about diligently diagnosing needs, offering options, earning trust, and establishing long-term partnerships with the client/customer. Tapping into the thesis of Dr. Paul Maclean’s study of the triune brain, effective selling from the heart is about aligning the choices of the Reasoning Brain, the Romantic Brain, and the Reptilian Brain towards the solution and value creation.
From an organizational and corporate perspective, the Reasoning Brain represents the analytical business side of the company, the Romantic Brain represents the visionary aspirations of the company, and the Reptilian Brain represents its values and deep-rooted culture. These three aspects of an organization also need to align for the company to grow, flourish, and lead in its field.
I must also highlight the rapid growth of communication technology, the internet and the influence of social media in the last two decades. Because of this, the selling profession has had to adjust its stance, change garb, and fly rapidly to keep up with the explosive growth of information disbursement that has become part and parcel of the world we live in today.
Yet winning the heart is to orchestrate sales in such a way that the customer feels that he bought wisely instead of being sold to smartly. Yet the organization she represents must feel assured that all acquisitions will more than serve their needs in the near and long-term. Think about that.
Raju Mandhyan author, coach and learning facilitator.