The other day, while talking to a business owner, I asked him why he was in business.  In other words, why did he start his company and why had he spent his life running it.  He answered quickly and without hesitation. "I want to create jobs and provide employment opportunities."  I challenged his response and suggested the reason he ran a business was to make a profit.

He again stated his business was to provide employment for his people.  I just couldn’t let it go and for the next several minutes we debated the true underlying purpose for his company.  Finally, the business owner conceded that if his company was not profitable he would not be able to support his employees, so yes, he was in business to make a profit.

That is the basic principle of business, making a profit.  The more profit a company can generate, the more people they can hire and the happier the owners, stockholders and employees will be.  Salespeople can have a profound impact on the happiness of their prospects and customers if they understand how they make a profit and then find ways to make them more profitable.  For many salespeople, this concept may seem unreasonable and impractical, but for the most successful salespeople, helping their customers make a profit is a sure method for increasing their sales.  There is an undeniable principle that states, "All things being equal, people buy from people they believe, like and trust (BLT)."  In many cases, you don’t even need to be the lowest price to win the business.

Helping another person is the fastest way to build trust and confidence while developing a personal relationship.  The better you understand how they make a profit, the more successful you will be in helping them increase those profits.  The top salespeople in the world have earned the role of trusted advisor or partner with their customers.  Everything they do is for the betterment of their customers.  These salespeople know profitable customers will be around for years to come and as a trusted advisor, they will continue to buy your products or services.

Helping your customers be more profitable is not suggesting you discount your pricing.  There is far more to increasing profits than buying at the lowest price.  As a well-informed salesperson, who understands how your customers make a profit, you can help them in ways that far exceed the thoughts and actions of average salespeople.  The typical salesperson is only looking at making a sale.  Top salespeople are focused on the health and vitality of their customers so they will always be their customers.  They share information, knowledge and ideas relating to market trends, operational improvements, organizational structure, product enhancement, balancing price with cost and value, etc.  The better top salespeople understand how their customers make a profit, the more opportunities they will find to help their customers increase their profits.

Applying this principle may be a stretch for some, but if you want to differentiate yourself from the typical average salespeople you compete with every day, this will do it.  The more you know, the more you will be trusted.  The more you are trusted the more you will be listened to.  The more you are listened to, the more influence you will have.  The greater your influence, the better you will be positioned to help increase their profits.  

Go ahead, step outside the box of typical, average salespeople and become a top sales producer.

(About the author: Timothy B. Huffaker is President ofThe Business Performance Group)