Listen to the podcast above, watch the video, or read the script below.

Hi, again, it’s Dennis. In today’s episode, we are going way, way back in the Dennis time machine. When I was trained to sell, there were still dinosaurs roaming. Can you believe that? Yeah, it’s true.

It was all about presentation. What are we going to present? We laid out our case, we provided the support, and that was selling. Okay. No questions. No uncovering, no discovery, I would call it coercion. That was kind of the sales process. Here’s what we’ve got. I’m going to convince you to buy it using every sleazy sales technique you’ve ever heard of, and probably some you’ve never heard of.

Well, anyway, fast forward to today. And now we talk about the mindset of the salesperson. What the heck is that? Our mindset back then was “You better get out there and by God, sell something today or else.” But today there are two competing mindsets that I’m aware of that salespeople deploy. Number one, I want to sell you something.

Yeah, we still have a lot of that. And number two, I want to help you. And the question is, what’s the difference, or does it even make a difference? Can you do both? So today we’re going to dive deep into these contrasting mindsets. Okay, the kind of the traditional approach of convincing a customer to buy and a more modern approach of genuinely wanting to help the customer.

How can you shift from a sales mindset of I want to sell you something — one of coercion — into one more genuine? Well, I’m not going to pretend it’s easy, especially for old dogs like me. That’s a pretty severe mindset change. But you know what? Here’s the deal. The very, very best in sales are doing that. They are shifting from the mindset of selling to helping.

Why? Very simple. The customers have shifted. Rather than pitching and making statements, which was our key weapon back then.

Today, the key weapon is questions and listening.

Every statement that a customer may make can prompt a question. We were trained back in the day that when a statement was made by a customer, we had to rebut that.

If it was an objection, we had to destroy it and overcome it. That doesn’t work a whole lot today. They often detract from trust, making random statements, random features, and benefit proposals right in the middle of a sales pitch, no longer help the pitch. They detract from it. So today we’re making use of rapport, right?

And I don’t mean just the “Oh, that looks great…” No, it’s a strategy rapport, a special kind of rapport. Get inside the buyer’s brain to understand them. What are their problems and what’s their plan to go about solving those problems? Make a connection. It’s not just, hey, let’s play 20 questions or I’m going to interrogate you.

No, we’re going to have a conversation and I’m going to help you paint your picture — not my picture — but your picture of your attractive future. So can we shift? Yeah, it takes some work. Shifting a mindset is not for the weak of heart. It’s a tough job, but it can be done. So what impact does a salesperson’s mindset have on building trust with a customer?

Does it have an impact? Does it make a difference? Well, let’s explore that a little bit. I’m here to sell you something is a tell-directed strategy. What does that mean? It’s about making statements, making comments, okay? Tell-directed. By the way, telling is not now and never has been selling. It was misinterpreted as selling at one time, but it never was.

It’s questions that win sales, listening that wins sales, not telling. The sale is won or lost from my observation of working with hundreds of salespeople and sales managers and listening to countless hours of recorded sales calls. The sale is won or lost in discovery at the opening of the sale in needs analysis and doing the inoculation trying to prevent objections.

The sale was won or lost in that first seven minutes.

That’s why in that first seven minutes it’s all questions. It’s not pitches or statements. It’s questions. If a pitch is required, if a presentation is required, we’ll pick that up later. When we do our options review, we talk about solutions, but not in the middle of it.

Okay. So a proper discovery not only uncovers crucial information, but you know what it does? It builds trust. Ah, I want to help you. That sends a whole different message than I want to sell you. Hey, you’re here for me. You’re on my team. You actually understand and listen to my needs. Uh, gee whiz, you’re trying to help me win.

No longer am I armed and armored up and ready to fight like I do with most salespeople because they’re going to try to argue me into submission. So, Is there a way to strike a balance between helping customers and achieving sales goals? Okay, because we still have to make our numbers, we still have to eat.

Is there a balance available here? Yes, finding the right balance between helping customers and achieving sales goals is obviously crucial. For success by focusing on genuinely understanding the customer’s needs and providing custom-tailored solutions for their needs. Guess what? That not only builds trust, that builds sales.

That’s called a win-win relationship. It’s all about creating value and building relationships.

The more value you create, the better the relationship.

Rather than solely focusing on closing deals. It’s amazing. The more deals you’ll close. Focusing on creating value. And value is relevant to the customer — value resides inside their head.

That’s what we do in the first seven. Find out what those values are. So if we can help them, obviously, if we can’t, we walk away, shake hands as friends and walk away. But if we can help them, there it is. In summary. There was an old phrase back in the day, commission breath. What’s that? Well, that referred to a salesperson who was just after their commission.

And guess what, folks? Customers could smell commission breath a mile away. Desperation is palpable.If you’re desperate, the customer will know it. You cannot cover it up. So I want to sell you something comes across in so many ways, body language, and verbal, actual real language, and the way things are said, some of the things that are not said, they know, by the way, rehearsed scripts are out.

They are out. They’ve been out for a little while. I understand some people who need that comfort and need to have that. That blankie, you know, a comfort blanket, but they don’t work. What works today is authentic, transparent, real, live sales conversations. Whoever needs the sale to happen the most, whether it’s the buyer or the seller, gives up the leverage.

If the seller needs the sale more than the buyer needs the sale, we give up leverage. And today’s customers are not stupid. They have been approached by every crate, coercive tactic, closing techniques, and gimmicks. Hey, if I can do this today, would you buy today? You know, Oh my gosh, we’ll do a list of those in some future episode. it reminds them of the salespeople who can’t be trusted. Unfortunately, there are still a few of those out there, but that’s not you and me, right? That’s not you and me. We have found a way to bridge that gap between, yeah, I need to sell something, but gee whiz, I think I’m going to be able to sell more by helping you get what you want.

What do you think? Next time, we’ll explore another exciting topic from the world of sales. This is Dennis Collins, and I’ll see you next time.