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I could not believe it. The other day I had lunch with a sales person who wanted me to buy her local internet advertising service. For the majority of the time all she talked about was how her customers benefited from increased exposure via the internet. Blah, blah, blah was all I heard.

If you and your sales people believe, like this woman, that selling is about sales pitches and fancy closing scripts, then I suggest you and they need to get sales training immediately. Those techniques were integral to the old school of selling, but selling today is more about building rapport with the potential buyer…asking the right questions, letting the buyer talk while you listen, and uncovering their emotions / frustrations. The buyer’s coffee cup should be full when your’s is finished because they have been too busy answering your questions.

I define selling as “professionally helping people buy”. It’s not cajoling or pushing product but rather helping the buyer find a solution to their problem. You must understand their problem first before you can find a solution. That’s what bothered me most about the sales woman’s approach with me. She didn’t take the time to understand my issues and problems; she either assumed she knew or she didn’t care.

The distinction between old and new selling styles can be summarized as:

Old Style                                                                     New Style

*        Presence of a strong sales pitch               *   Focus on understanding the buyer’s needs

*        Often involves inserting pressure             *   Relies on rapport being built not pressure

*        Counter objections                                   *   Validate objection and reopen conversation

(taken from table prepared by Ari Galper)


Today people are turned off by the Old Sales Style. They want to know that you care. Recall the saying “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. Old style is much more about selling while the new style is about building rapport first and understanding the issues. When you understand my issues and the emotions behind those issues, I am much more willing to purchase – no fancy closing techniques needed.

Are you and your sales team generating the results you expect? If not, perhaps it’s because you’re using the old style selling. We would be happy to discuss training your sales team on techniques that will increase their effectiveness as a sales team.

Jeff Lovejoy



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