The Evolution of Sales Success In Today’s Economy: As Simple As A-B-C

sales success

Selling is tough right now. The economy has seen better days. Heck, it’s seen better decades.

Not only do consumers have less expendable income than they used to, but they’re also much more discerning than they used to be.

The ease of obtaining vast amounts of accurate information has made the average consumer smarter – and more aware of alternatives to your offer.

Why Should I Care? I’m Not In Sales.

Yes you are. This whole “I’m not in sales” thing is a misconception.

Don’t think for a moment that there has to be a currency exchange in order for a sale to be made. That’s just one type of sale.

You’re selling when…

  • You convince a family member or co-worker to do something you want them to do.
  • You change someone else’s opinion about something.
  • You negotiate a pay raise or a day off.
  • You ask (and get) someone to take action.

Get the idea?

Selling is simply identifying someone else’s problem, need, or desire – and then finding a way to solve that problem, fill that need, or quench that desire. Most of the time, there are financial overtones – but start thinking of sales in broader terms.

Whatever you do, if you ask people questions about their situation, identify a need they have, and then help them fill that need – you sell. I don’t care what your business cards say. Trust me.


Something Has Changed

Aside from the abysmal economy, something has shifted in recent years that has begun to change the playing field in business. Consumers have figured out who is really in charge of the buyer-seller relationship.

They are.


The A-B-C’s Of Selling

We’ve already established that if you want to get people to do what you want them to do whether or not is involves an actual exchange of money – then you had better get good at selling.

We’ve also acknowledged that consumers are evolving and getting smarter. Unfortunately not all businesses are. (I could go on and on as to why you are a business – but that’s a post for another day)

There are basically three attitudes toward business and selling today.

A Is For Apathetic
Believe it or not, there are still businesses out there that don’t really focus on sales at all. These are the throwbacks who put up a sign, buy a yellow pages ad, and then wait for the phone to ring.

They either don’t know any better, or they have the attitude that sales is distasteful or beneath them somehow. If you run into any of these folks, take a picture because they’ll soon be extinct.

B Is For Bullying
While the apathetic people may be annoying, at least they’re not shady. The same can’t be said for the Bullies. Bullies are those fast talking, over-promising, pushy salesmen. These are the people who bombard you with their offers – be it in person, in your snail mail, or in your email inbox.

They pound their offer into your head with repetition and volume in an effort to wear you down. They’re in charge of the sales process from beginning to end and they only need your input when it’s time to pay. Consumers are hip to these bullies and in larger and larger numbers are resolving to no longer take any of their crap.

C Is For Connection
The Connectors are the people who will thrive. You could just as easily call them engagers – because they take the time to know and understand their customers. They know that the only way to achieve long term success with today’s consumers is to deliver stellar service and quality products with sincerity and integrity.

They connect in a very real way with and legitimately care about the welfare of their customers. Consumers respond to the Connectors. In my Free eBook, How To Alienate All The Right People, I refer to the kind of selling done by these Connectors as Integrity Selling.

Which One Are You?

If you’re apathetic and wait, half-ass it, or just ignore the problem – I have bad news for you. Your future is certain. You’re not going to make it.

If your intention is to be an old-school bully, things don’t look too rosy for you either. If your attitude is to do what you have to do and say what you have to say to separate people from their money – then you don’t get it. While money can be made by bullying, it often doesn’t stick – and it surely doesn’t inspire loyalty or repeat business.

My advice? Become a connector. Adopt an attitude of servitude, create useful solutions, and start to behave more like a consultant than a traditional salesperson.

Future posts will delve further into connection, engagement, and Integrity Selling. But for now, let’s all discuss today’s selling environment…


Your Turn To Engage!

Tell me your experience with the three types of sales attitudes mentioned in this post.

Which one most closely matches your strategy for engaging customers?

Share your thoughts and stories in the comments section.


About Gary Korisko

Gary is a battle-tested sales and marketing pro, copywriter, coach, and business strategist who teaches how to create worthwhile work on Reboot Authentic. Connect with Gary on Google+ and Twitter.

16 Replies

  1. Priska

    Unfortunately there are still too many people trained in sales to be bullies.

    Of late I have asked them ‘what part of “no” do you not understand’ then make them aware that they are now ‘stalking’ me.

    1. My point exactly, Priska.

      So ask yourself: If many of the salespeople around you are the bully type – and you are a consumer who is no longer willing to put up with that treatment…

      Who is the door to your buying heart wide open to if they would only show you a better way?


  2. Wendy Krueger

    For a minute I thought you had read Dan Pink’s latest book, To Sell is Human. He uses the ABC analogy as well in his recent book. He also mentions your point above that we are all sales people. You may be convincing your kids to eat their meal or clean their room, etc. Everyone uses sales/persuasion on day to day basis. Ironically, the best sales people are not the extroverts, they are the ambiverts, who fall in the middle.

    1. You’re kidding, Wendy!

      Should I be ashamed that I don’t know who Dan Pink is?

      At any rate, it sounds like I’d like what he has to say if we already agree 🙂 I’ll look him up and buy that book. Thanks very much for the tip!

  3. I agree with Wendy – I was sure you’d just read Dan Pink’s book! And yes, you should be ashamed you don’t know who he is! 😉 He is the author of “Drive” about what motivates people and, recently, “To Sell Is Human” about how to move people. I think you’d really like both books. Pick ’em up at the airport bookstore next time you’re on a business trip! Anyway, the first section of Pink’s book is exactly what you talk about here: the power between buyer-seller has switched from the seller to the buyer because of the easy access to information buyers now have.

    His ABCs are different than yours, but it IS ironic that you both use them! Great article, Gary!

    1. Ok, ok I’m ashamed already.

      Actually, Bobbi – when you mentioned Drive, it all clicked.I haven’t read it, but have heard wonderful things. (And I’m on a trip now… so I may have some shopping to do)

      Pink must be a long-tenured salesperson. The shift in power in the selling relationship is clear as day to anyone who has been successful in sales for along period of time. I think you’re right – he sounds like my kind of guy.

      See? This is one of the great things about blogs. How did I miss a guy like this? I read tons of sales books. If not for this discussion, I still wouldn’t know who he is. Now I can’t wait to read his books. Thanks!!

      1. Actually, he’s not a sales or business guy at all. He’s a journalist. He used to be a speechwriter for one of the presidents. Clinton, I think. I met him once – nice guy!

        1. Very interesting stuff. Clearly I need to learn more about him.

  4. Great post. I agree the old school bully stuff is counter productive. I have seen a lot of that in the many years I was in sales.. today’s version is the overly aggressive email campaigns…from which I always unsubscribe. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I agree about the overly aggressive email campaigns. It’s funny – I like getting email campaigns (maybe it’s the salesman in me that appreciates it) but there is a line. And many do cross it. In my opinion, if it’s a quality campaign that has useful information in it – I’m fine.

      What I do not want it constant bombardment with “buy, buy, buy” messaging.

      Thanks for contributing, Celeste!

  5. Gary, I’ve been away from a bit and you’re lighting this place on fire! Glad to see that everything is coming together so well!

    1. Hi Mike! Great to see you here!

      Things are moving along well. Thanks very much! I hope all is well over at LTNE. We need to catch up via email soon.

  6. Thank you Gary! I have been saying this to my employees since day one. Don’t go through the motions; have a conversation with your customer!

    1. Gary_RA

      You’re right, Jeanne.

      The money comes AFTER the trust and the relationship are built. Keep preaching it!

      Thanks for the comment.

  7. As usual, good but bitter advice. It’s so much easier to not care – to tell yourself things will work out for themselves.

    But as I’ve learnt the hard way, you’ve got to care. When I was launching a tech startup a few years back, the product was driven more by our vision than engagement with potential customers. I think the fact that I’m not a millionaire speaks for how that turned out.

    1. And also as usual for you – great point!

      You’re right. A great product (offering) alone doesn’t necessarily do the trick. As you said, you need both. And often engagement with customers and potential customers can help you create a great offering.

      Great to see you here, Amit – and thank you.

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