The world of sales often draws from various sources for inspiration and guidance. Yet, few might realize that one of the most compelling sales lessons comes from the heart of the New Testament. In my book, The Master Salesman: Jesus and the Art of Service, I delve into the nuanced techniques that Jesus employed in his interactions, techniques that can greatly benefit the modern salesperson. Today, we’re exploring a particular episode from the Gospel of Matthew that demonstrates the power of uncovering hidden needs.
In this gospel, Jesus finds himself cornered by the Pharisees and Herodians. These groups, in their attempt to discredit him, pose a politically loaded question about paying taxes to Caesar. Recognizing their intent, Jesus doesn’t immediately provide an answer. Instead, he turns the table by presenting a question: “Why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” He further probes, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” (Matthew 22:18-20, ESV). Instead of directly addressing their query, Jesus engages them in a process of self-discovery, laying bare their concealed motives.
The public setting of this exchange only amplifies the tension. The Pharisees and Herodians weren’t genuinely seeking enlightenment; they wanted to manipulate the situation to their advantage. Jesus’ approach, however, wasn’t just about evasion. It was about bringing their internal dialogue to the surface. By directing them to inspect the coin, he nudged them towards the inevitable conclusion of their line of questioning. He wasn’t merely providing an answer but was steering them toward a deeper comprehension of their inquiry.
The implications of this interaction stretch beyond the biblical context and into our modern sales landscape. This narrative aligns beautifully with the Discovery phase of the IDEAS Sales System. Customers often approach salespeople with concealed reservations or unexpressed needs. Like Jesus, salespeople have the opportunity to navigate these murky waters by posing the right questions.
Consider a potential buyer who’s scrutinizing a product but is seemingly hesitant. A salesperson, employing the techniques exemplified by Jesus, might ask, “What specific concerns do you have about this product?” or “How do you envision this product aiding you?” These inquiries serve to unearth the customer’s latent desires and apprehensions, permitting the salesperson to address them head-on.
Just as Jesus utilized inquisitiveness to reveal the hidden motives of the Pharisees and Herodians, modern salespersons can harness the power of probing questions to discern a customer’s concealed requirements. Through keen questioning, they can usher the customer towards a deeper understanding of their own necessities and the ways in which the product or service can cater to them.
As outlined in the Triad of Belief, the sales journey is rooted in belief. Jesus’ “industry” was the Kingdom of God, his “product” was Salvation, and his self-belief, despite the human challenges he faced, remained unwavering. His primary mission was to instill these beliefs in humanity. With billions identifying as Christians today, thousands of years after he introduced his “product”, it’s clear that Jesus was an exceptional salesman. Drawing from his approach, I too have faced struggles in faith and personal challenges, yet I find solace and inspiration in the teachings and methodologies he employed.
If you found this exploration insightful and wish to delve deeper into the nuanced sales techniques inspired by Jesus, I’d recommend you consider my book, The Master Salesman: Jesus and the Art of Service. Beyond just reading, if you’re keen on personal growth and honing your sales skills, Closer Classes offers one-on-one Training, Coaching, and Life Coaching to help you achieve your aspirations.
The customer is ready to buy. He needs you to help him believe.
The sales techniques employed by Jesus in the New Testament provide invaluable lessons for modern salespeople. Drawing from the Gospel of Matthew, the article explores how Jesus used questioning to uncover hidden motives, an approach that can be mirrored in today’s sales interactions to discern concealed customer needs.