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Maybe you believe you sell a product. Or maybe you believe you sell a service. Or perhaps, you believe you sell something more complex, like solutions. Really, you sell only four things.

You Sell Visions

You sell an imagined future. You sell the story of how things might be better.

Once you gain an understanding of your client’s dissatisfaction (or help them to become dissatisfied), you sell the vision of the future where that dissatisfaction is no more. You sell the vision of the desired state, of something far better than your dream client’s current state.

Without a vision of the future, your dream client isn’t going to go through all of the trouble, or all of the pain, that accompanies a change initiative. They have to see a better, brighter vision of a future that is worth pursuing.

What you sell is a vision.

You Sell Ideas

How you make the vision a reality is through your ideas.

You sell the idea of your values. You sell the idea that is your unique view. You sell the differences that make a difference for your dream client in achieving the results that they need. You sell the ideas that are your diagnosis before you sell the ideas that are your solutions.

You sell the ideas that are the changes your dream client needs to make so that their vision becomes a reality.

What you sell is ideas.

You Sell Outcomes

It isn’t your product, your service, or your solution that your dream client is buying; they are buying the outcome your product, your service, or your solution provides.

You may have heard it said this way: “People don’t buy drills; they buy holes.” But if your company makes drills, it’s easy to believe your customers want to buy drills. You also have heard it said this way: “If the railroads would have believed they were in the transportation business, they would have opened airlines.” They believed they were in the business of running railroads.

You sell holes.

You sell the outcomes that make your shared vision of the future a reality.

You Sell Trust

You sell the fact that you can be trusted, that you can be counted on to ensure that those outcomes are achieved. You sell the fact that you are the best, the most capable, and the most dedicated choice of partner to help your dream client reach their future desired state.

You don’t have to have the best offering. You don’t have to have the best price. You don’t even have to be the best salesperson. But to win the opportunity to help your dream client, you do have to be the salesperson that your dream client trusts most to help them achieve the outcomes they need.

Your dream client is choosing a business partner. They are hiring someone they trust to own a result that they need. They need that trusted partner.

You sell trust.

The currencies that you trade in as a salesperson are vision, ideas, outcomes, and trust.


What is that you really sell? Is that enough?

What do you need to do to provide a vision or to help your dream client achieve their vision?

How do you help your clients with the ideas that will help them cross the bridge to a better future?

You sell holes. What are the holes that you sell?

Why is trust one of the major currencies in which you trade?

Sales 2011
Post by Anthony Iannarino on November 23, 2011

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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