Some people are “peddlers” some are “influencers”, others “politicians”, and then there are just those who “want their own way.”  Call it what you will, we are all salespeople.  

We all try to influence others for either our benefit or theirs.  We call this form of persuasion, selling.  I made a great sale this weekend.  I persuaded my wife to watch a football game with me.  She wanted to watch a Hallmark movie and I wanted to watch the San Francisco 49ers.  She made a sale too.  She sold me on doing the yard work I was hoping to put off until Spring.  We are all salespeople and we sell every day of our lives.

The principle of selling is not to force someone to do something they don’t want to do, but rather, to discover a need or want, some situation they don’t want, and then help them solve the problem through finding a correct solution.  In its truest definition, selling is a profession of trust much like a doctor, dentist, attorney, accountant, mechanic, priest, parent, husband or wife.  Salespeople have many different names and titles but the objective is always the same; helping people who believe, like and trust you solve their problems through persuasion.  Abuse the trust, however, and a salesperson is the most loathed person on the face of the earth.

Selling is a position of trust, and that trust should never be taken for granted.  Salespeople should always be mindful of the responsibility they have to those people they are influencing.  Think of the consequences of persuading an individual to do something that is not in their best interest.  It could cost them time, money, reputation, self-esteem or even their life.  You may never know the ultimate consequence of your influence, so make sure it is honest and not self-serving.

The highest form of selling involves selflessness and integrity.  It is putting the needs of the prospect or buyer ahead of your own.  It is focusing on providing the correct solution to a problem or need even if it means a reduced benefit to you.  In the original version of the movie, Miracle on 34th Street, Kris Kringle, while asking boys and girls what they wanted for Christmas, was recommending to parents that they purchase certain Christmas items at a competing department store. Macy’s, the department store where he was working, either didn't carry the toy, or sold an inferior or too costly version.  When management got word of this, they decided to fire him.  However, the news media picked up on the story and praised Kris Kringle for his integrity.  The publicity drove even more people to Macy’s Department Store for their Christmas shopping.

In the purest form of salesmanship, if you will put the best interest of the customer first, you will never go wrong.  In fact, you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams.  When your customers experience the selfless service and expertise you offer them, they will tell others and before long, you will have more referrals than you can possibly handle.  People buy from people they believe, like and trust.  When you become that person, you will outsell all others.  Remember, selling is a position of trusted influence.  Never, never, never, forget the personal responsibility and integrity that accompanies your role of salesperson.