If you’re in the business world, then the concepts of money and sales are probably inextricably tied together for you. The sales you make influence the money you have, and your attitude toward money influences your sales.
Money is a medium for exchanging value between people. Sales serve as a way to find an agreement about that value exchange. When you adopt such a perspective for your sales mindset, you’ll develop a relationship with sales that contributes to your freedom.
In his Money Mindset podcast series (see Part 1 and Part 2 here), we’ve examined what money is and how we can foster a positive relationship with it. Here, in the third and final installment of our series, let’s home in on our sales mindset.
Your Sales Mindset May Not Be Useful
What’s the first image that pops into your head when you think about sales? If you’re like many people, it might be a picture of a sleazy used-car salesman. You’re stuck on the idea of a guy who convinces others to give away their “hard-earned money” for something they know doesn’t work.
A sales mindset such as that may not be especially useful for you, especially if you’re a business owner whose abundance depends on making sales.
How We See Sales
Sure, we know deep down that every salesperson — ourselves included — doesn’t actually fit that stereotypical used car salesman image. (Even most used car salesmen probably don’t fall into that category!) And yet there’s a good chance still that we’re holding on to views about sales that aren’t especially resourceful for us.
Often, contemporary approaches emphasize the sale itself. The focus is on getting the sale out. It’s a numbers game. When you make a sale, that’s a win and you get a commission. There’s this big incentive to sell in a way that emphasizes generating income for yourself.
Have you seen the 1992 movie “Glengarry Glen Ross”? Even if you haven’t watched the whole thing, you may know the famous scene in which Alec Baldwin’s character instructs salesmen in the ABCs of sales. “A, always; B, be; C, closing. Always be closing,” he insists.
Or perhaps you’re more familiar with the metaphor of sales as a hunting expedition. Salespeople are on the lookout for prospects. Once they set their sights on them, they then start conning them into buying their wares.
Maybe you’ve had an uncomfortable experience of your own in which you were on the receiving end of someone’s strong-arm sales strategies. When that happens, it can create mistrust whenever someone tries to sell you something. You spend more time trying to protect yourself from unsavory sales tactics than considering how a product could benefit you.
If that’s how you’ve conceptualized sales, then you’re probably going to be held back in your own business endeavors. You don’t want to become that person — the one who imposes on others.
What Sales Are
You can sell to others without being an imposition or taking advantage of people. If you aren’t sure how that could be, then it’s time for some reframing of your beliefs about sales.
In sales, you’re making an agreement with someone else to exchange value. One person has what the other person wants, and they can negotiate to find a win-win solution for both of them. That is sales in its purest form.
The terms of the sale can be favorable to both parties. On one side, the sale generates income. On the other side, the sale connects someone to valued goods or services.
When sales are approached in this way, it generates positive relationships. It also improves your long-term outlook.
Selling to people who don’t actually want what you have to offer can tarnish your image (and that of your product or service). But when you go into sales with the understanding that both parties can benefit, you’re more likely to build lasting relationships and protect your reputation.
You Have What Others Need
Sales aren’t a one-sided experience. When it meets another person’s needs, it can be a value exchange in which both parties win.
My First Truck
People actually love to buy things — particularly when those things will contribute to the reality they want to experience.
Think about the last time you spent a bunch of money on something that you really liked. How did you feel? You were probably pretty excited.
This brings to mind one of the first adult purchases I made. I bought a truck, and I was so excited about it. Buying it took a big chunk of my money, but making that investment was a joy for me because of what the truck represented to me. It symbolized responsibility and freedom and becoming an adult.
I loved the experience of spending that money.
A Long-Awaited Cure
One time, my wife and I watched a presentation by T. Harv Eker, author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.
He talked about his mother, who has rheumatoid arthritis. Over the years, he’s watched her suffer in so much pain. He told us that he’d give any amount of money to solve this problem for her.
Eker asked us to imagine that we were the person who had the solution for rheumatoid arthritis and that the only reason that his mom wasn’t getting access was that we didn’t want to impose on anyone else. We were too worried about being ‘salesy’.
Can you imagine? That would actually be selfish of us! We’d be keeping something of value back from someone who could truly use it.
What you’re selling doesn’t have to be the cure for a disease for this to apply to you too. When you keep yourself from providing a good or service to others, you are also keeping those people from getting the beautiful benefit of the work you do in the world.
Your Sales Are in Service to Others
If you’re finding resistance within yourself to the idea of sales, maybe it’s because you’re thinking about it in terms of convincing people to buy something.
But think about when I bought my first truck. That was a joy for me. No one had to convince me to do it.
So try this on for size: Instead of setting out to convince others, find people who already want the thing that you’re selling. Those are the people who would love to buy it.
Then, take it one step further. Have conversations with them. Find out why they want to buy the thing.
Instead of going into a sales situation with guns blazing — “You should buy this! Everyone would benefit from it. Everyone should have it!” — be more open.
Go into the situation with an attitude of “I don’t know if this thing would be useful for you. Let’s have a conversation and see. I know all about this thing that I’m selling, and you know all about yourself and what you want in the world. Let’s talk and find out if those two things align.”
If there is alignment there, then you are doing those people a service by selling to them. In fact, you may be serving them better through sales than by giving something away for free.
When people receive things for free, they often don’t value them as much. As a result, they may not extract the full benefit.
But when you give people the opportunity to invest in what you have to offer, you’re also providing the opportunity to invest in themselves. They get to say, “Hey, this is important enough that I’m going to use some of my finite flow of money on it. I’m going to become the kind of person who invests in this thing.”
You Can Create Abundance
Sales can be your ticket to a life of abundance. If there’s a life that you want, a resourceful mindset toward sales can help you achieve it.
But with that as your goal, I encourage you not to sell from a place of scarcity. What I mean by that is you may currently be selling something that you don’t really like or care about. You’re doing it for the paycheck but not because it aligns with your values.
Sometimes people tell me, “I can’t make a living selling what I really love in the world. I’m a good person, and I love doing that thing. I should just give it away.” And so, instead, they spend their lives earning money through activities that don’t actually align with their values.
But when you create abundance by selling things that you really care about — to people who really want them — you gain more energy, more time, and more value to create the reality that you want to experience.