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The Business of Sales is About People

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
October 19, 2010

It’s People, Not Solutions

I never wanted to be in sales. The very idea repulsed me. As a young man, I believed salespeople were selfish, manipulative, and dishonest, only after money at someone else’s expense.

As someone who worked in operations, I was unaware that my calling the people at the companies that I believed could use my help was actually sales. When my sales manager pointed out that I had more deals than the three sales reps he was paying to win deals, I denied that what I was doing was selling. I told him that I was just trying to help people who I believed that we could help.

Turns out, I was wrong.

My sales manager, as it runs out, was right: the business of sales is the business of helping other people. Zig Ziglar is right, too: “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

Your success in sales is measured by how well you do helping others. If you want to measure it by the money, by the toys, by the awards, or some other idea of success, all of those are really nothing more than a measurement of how well you are doing helping other people.

Your Numbers and Metrics Are a Measurement of Your Success Helping People

All of your sales numbers and all of your metrics are really just a measurement of how effective you are in helping other people.

Your prospecting results are a measurement of how effective you are at opening relationships (and a measurement of your of your self-discipline). If you know how to ask the questions that create value for other people instead of being solely focused on yourself and your solutions, and if you care deeply enough to have developed the business acumen to be of value to others, then your prospecting results are the measurement of how well you are doing at opening relationships.

Prospecting is about people.

Your ability to successfully win deals is a measurement of how well you understand what other people need and how to help them get it.

More deals are lost because the front-end work of developing the relationships and an understanding of your dream client’s needs weren’t done well than were ever lost because of poor closing abilities or techniques.
There is no reason to believe you can win—or that you deserve to win—without the relationships with the people who need your help. You are simply deluding yourself if you believe that you can help people without first developing an understanding of how best to help them.

How well you are doing developing relationships is seen by peering into your calendar and reviewing the names of the people with who you are spending time. Who are they? Where do they work? What are they working on? What problems are they trying to solve?

Your calendar is a non-metric measurement that is far more important than many other metrics.

Winning deals is about the relationships you have developed with people, not your solutions. Your solutions are the result of understanding people’s needs.

Obtaining the commitment to move forward together with the people at your dream clients is about deserving their trust. It is about demonstrating that you care, and that you will do whatever is necessary to help them obtain the results that they need.

How you are doing gaining trust and demonstrating that you care is visible by your obtaining commitment after commitment from the people who work at your dream client. If you are moving from one stage of your sales process to the next without stalling, it is an indication that you are developing the trust of the people who need your help, and that they believe you are sincerely interested in their success.

Are you?


When you make a sale, do you recognize that it wasn’t the company that you sold, that it was a group of people?
When you win, do you give more credit to your solutions, your proposal, or your presentation skills than you give to the relationships with the people that work for your dream client?

Is your solution built around helping a company? Or is it built around helping a group of people solve a difficult problem? Which idea is more compelling? Which idea is more compelling to the people who need your help?

Do the metrics you track and focus on take into account how important the relationships you have developed are to your success?

Look at the sales metrics you are most concerned with. What are the people elements that drive those metrics? How do you quantify the importance of people to your success and your ability to succeed in sales?

Think about the last three deals that you won. Who were the people you were trying to help? What did you do to earn their trust? What do you do that demonstrated to them that you cared deeply about helping them get what they want?

Sales 2010
Post by Anthony Iannarino on October 19, 2010

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is the author of four books on the modern sales approach, one book on sales leadership, and his latest book called The Negativity Fast releases on 10.31.23. Anthony posts daily content here at TheSalesBlog.com.
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