The Invisible Salesperson

Well, they’re not exactly invisible. They’re there. You just don’t know that they are salespeople because … they exhibit few, if any, of your stereotypical salesy behaviors.

I remember when I first got into B2B sales selling expensive office equipment. I was with a national company and I went through about 7 months of intensive traditional sales training. Tin Men kind of stuff. This included a one-week and a two-week session at the corporate headquarters.

We sold the equipment and our technicians maintained it. While techs never had any quotas, they were encouraged to sell time and material service, maintenance agreements, and supplies. Honestly, I don’t remember them even being compensated for these sales.

At any rate … they always killed it. Why? They weren’t salespeople. Instead, they were perceived by customers as being …

  1. Not salespeople
  2. Technical experts
  3. Honest
  4. Motivated to solve problems as opposed to making a sale

What would happen if salespeople exhibited these same traits? I would suggest that you would see similar results. Throw away the adversarial behaviors. Throw away the objection handling and conquering techniques. Throw away the close. 

The close is overrated anyway. A closed sale is the natural culmination to a sales process that is done correctly. That means … everything that happens before the big moment. What are those things?

You are not a salesperson

Ditch the pitch and become an educator instead. Open your eyes and your ears and shut your mouth. I can spot a salesperson from a mile away. Maybe it’s because we know are own. Maybe it’s because I am a customer in addition to being a sales rep. Regardless, when I see sales behavior, my guard goes up.

Demonstrate your technical expertise

I can’t speak for you, but I am more inclined to buy from folks who know their stuff and I’m less inclined to buy from those who don’t. You have to know your product inside and out. Top to bottom. And I’m not talking about bullet points from some sales sheet. You need to be knowledgeable about practical applications. Real-life stuff.

Be honest

If your solution is not the right solution, tell them that. If their ideas are not in their own best interests, tell them why. Never be afraid to tell them “No”. If you screw up, own up. Explain their options and the pluses and minuses of each. It’s a matter of earning trust.

Become a problem solver

You don’t come across as a salesperson. You appear to be honest and knowledgeable and you want to solve my problems instead of just making a sale. You appear this way because … you are this way. 

Finally, this is not about appearing to be someone who you are not. That would be a deception. It’s about a shift in mindset. It’s about focusing on the needs of the client rather than your own to make quota. 

Better yet, it removes the battle of wills between the salesperson and the customer. Instead, you work together toward a common goal and that is a solution that works for your client. Selling becomes a hell of a lot more fun when you’re not selling! When you are … invisible.

Craig M. Jamieson

Craig M. Jamieson is a lifelong B2B salesperson, manager, owner, and a networking enthusiast. Adaptive Business Services provides solutions related to the sales professional including Boise’s best B2B leads group, NetWorks! Boise Valley. We are a Nimble SCRM Solution Partner and a Value Added Associate for TTI Performance Systems. Craig also conducts training and workshops primarily in social selling and communication skills. Craig is also the author of “The Small Business’ Guide to Social CRM”, now available on Amazon!

Craig M. Jamieson

Craig M. Jamieson

Craig M. Jamieson

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