I was talking to someone recently about how I would describe “sales”. And to me, the essence of selling is helping someone change their status quo. They have a problem or challenge, and you have a solution that can help fix it.
Selling Is Changing Inertia
Because I’m sometimes super-nerdy, I described it in terms of inertia. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking inertia is about an object at rest. But actually, inertia just means that an object will keep moving in the same direction and speed unless an outside force acts on it. Newton said it better in his First Law of Thermodynamics:
“Every object in a state of uniform motion will remain in that state of motion unless an external force acts on it.”
When you are selling someone, your goal is to be that external force. It could be trying to convince your spouse to go to a theater performance or the CEO of a large company to purchase your SaaS platform. But you are always trying to change the path that they are already on.
You want them to start moving in a different (and hopefully better) direction.
You Are Your Toughest and Most Important Customer
And there’s a sales conversation we need to have with ourselves every day. We are battling our own inertia. If we don’t sell ourselves on doing things differently, then we’ll keep moving in the same direction and at the same speed as we always have.
In fact, it’s often easy to give up trying to sell ourselves because we know that we’re a pretty flaky customer.
But just like a good salesperson doesn’t give up, you can’t either. Pay attention to the conversations that you are having with yourself. And when you find yourself caught up in some old habits that aren’t serving you anymore, ask, “How can I sell this change to myself more effectively?”
If you’ve gotten lax with your exercise regimen, for example, don’t berate yourself. Simply ask yourself some more questions about why you aren’t following through. Identify the obstacles to the deal and ways around them. And paint a picture of what it will look like when you do. Take the skills you have learned to sell and influence, and turn them on yourself.
Because while you can be the most difficult customer, you’re also the most profitable.