What Is Selling?


As I look back on the last few years of posting more than 250 blogs at this site, perhaps this should’ve been the first one. Maybe this should’ve been the introduction.

What is selling?

While many salespeople or want-to-be salespeople don’t verbalize that, I’ve found that question gets asked internally more than we think. In fact, we’ve probably all asked it or thought it at one time or another in our career. And, generally there’s always the same answer: sales is simply a transference of feeling; presenting your product or service in such a way your prospect feels about it the way you do and therefore purchases what you sell.

Selling is a transference of feeling.

That’s not a bad definition, but I’m not sure it’s complete. And, in all honesty my definition is probably much more basic. In my world, selling is simply determining your customer’s wants and helping the get it.

We (myself included) have trained people for years to do needs analysis’–find out what your customer needs. But, people don’t always buy what they need; they buy what they want. Our job as salespeople many times is to demonstrate to our prospect how their needs can become their wants and how our product or service can fulfill that want.

Even though someone needs something doesn’t mean they have a desire for it. A professional salesperson helps create that desire by first uncovering that need. Remember, some prospects don’t know they need something—they don’t know there’s a better way or that they even have an issue to solve. Showing the benefits of what your product or service does and the results creat the “want” in the prospect. The purchase is made therefore not because of the need, but because of the want.

But do they even know they need it in the first place? That’s where you have to start.

As you uncover needs realize those have to be converted to wants. This is where features and benefits come into play. Needs are for features and wants are for benefits. They may need a new widget, but they won’t want that widget until you show them what it does for them and how their life will be easier or more productive.

Once you start to envision the sales process in this manner and think of it starting like this, you’ll be well on your way to sales success.