By Jim Cathcart
Like you, I subscribe to a number of magazines and resources that specialize in sales, marketing, and business success strategies. What astounds me about them is how there is an endless flow of articles on selling. You’d think the first 100 or so would pretty much cover the ground and the rest would be redundant.
Selling Is Not Always the Same
But that assumes that all selling is fundamentally the same. Not true. Yes, all selling involves connecting with people in a way that causes them to buy from you but, after that, there are endless variables. Online sales to consumers is vastly different from boardroom sales to executive teams. Selling through proposals and tenders is not even similar to direct multilevel sales. Retail store sales and in-home contractor sales are very different. Selling at expos requires a mindset different from selling people on having cosmetic surgery. Need I go on?
This diversity of selling situations, products and services, rules, laws, customs, and restrictions means you can never fully understand all aspects of this wonderful craft. But that doesn’t mean you should stop trying.
What’s Consistent in the Profession of Selling?
You may be selling cars through online ordering systems but you can still learn techniques or ideas from hoteliers in Las Vegas who are selling room upgrades and vacation packages. The guy who sold you the white-water rafting trip could probably teach you something that would help you sell parts to airplane manufacturers. It’s all human interaction, problem finding, needs analysis, solution finding, collaboration, decision making, negotiation, and confirming commitments.
A mind that is always learning is more capable than one that is simply well informed. I once marveled at how many firms were offering sales training and how different some of their processes were from mine. Then it occurred to me that “Selling” is the “family name” of all of them. Among Cathcarts, I’m Jim. My cousins are Bruce and Judy. My father is Earl. But we are all Cathcarts. Among sales techniques, mine is “Relationship Selling™,” Tony Alessandra’s is “Platinum Rule® Selling,” Don Hutson’s is “Selling Value™,” but they are all Selling – first and foremost. What separates them is the style or areas of emphasis.
I’ve been teaching sales for 40 years now and have authored 18 books, but I still read every page of Selling Power magazine each month and I scour the other publications, Websites, podcasts, and blogs for insights and inspiration. I go to conventions and collaborate with my competitors (who are also my colleagues). We share our books with each other and often recommend each other to our own clients. I hope you do the same.
The more you help others succeed, the greater the pool of buyers there will be for all of you. Keep the flow of different points of view flowing freely into your mind. Each idea will find the appropriate “file” of understanding that fits it – and your sales capacity will increase endlessly.
Jim Cathcart is a long-time contributor to Selling Power and one of the world’s leading professional speakers. He is the original author of Relationship Selling plus 17 other books. Cathcart.com helps organizations increase sales engagement and self-motivation. Contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.