In our world filled with constant noise, persuasion, and transactions, it’s easy to forget that the core of any genuine interaction is understanding. This truth finds itself deeply embedded not just in the vast realms of sales and coaching but in the very fabric of historical teachings, most notably the conversation between Jesus and the rich young ruler as documented in the Gospel of Matthew.
This notable exchange offers profound lessons, especially when applied in a sales context. The story begins when a rich young ruler approaches Jesus with an inquiry: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” This wasn’t a casual question. He was looking for an actionable answer, a step, or a deed. But Jesus, with his infinite wisdom, responded with a question: “Why do you ask me about what is good?” (Matthew 19:17, ESV).
The depth of this response isn’t just theological; it’s psychological. Jesus was not deflecting the young man’s query but urging him to delve into his own understanding of ‘goodness’. Was it a checklist of benevolent acts? Or was it aligning oneself with the true essence of good? By posing this question, Jesus aimed to help the ruler discover that genuine goodness is rooted not in external acts but in understanding and aligning with the intrinsic nature of God.
Drawing a parallel to the modern sales sphere, this dialogue closely mirrors the Discovery phase of the IDEAS Sales System. It emphasizes that questions are not just tools for obtaining information; they are instruments to unearth authentic needs, desires, and motivations. Just as Jesus was navigating the ruler towards true understanding, a salesperson must guide the customer toward genuine solutions.
Let’s put this into perspective. Imagine a potential client asking about a product feature. A conventional approach might involve detailing the function and benefits of said feature. But what if, instead, the sales rep took a leaf from Jesus’ interaction and asked, “How do you see this feature enhancing your day-to-day tasks?” or “What prompted you to ask about this particular aspect?” By shifting the dialogue in this manner, the salesperson encourages the client to share more about their unique circumstances, challenges, and aspirations.
Such an approach moves the conversation from a mere transactional interaction to a genuine exploration of value. It’s not about quick fixes or canned responses. It’s about a journey of mutual discovery, understanding the client’s world from their vantage point, and guiding them to solutions tailored to their genuine needs.
To truly serve a customer, as emphasized in the IDEAS Sales System, is to understand them. This understanding comes not from making assumptions but from actively listening, asking insightful questions, and genuinely seeking to grasp their unique needs.
Now, you might wonder how all this ties into the art of selling. In my book, The Master Salesman: Jesus and the Art of Service, this lesson is expanded upon. The art of selling isn’t about convincing someone to buy. It’s about building a connection, understanding their needs, and guiding them toward a solution — much like how Jesus approached conversations.
I’m not suggesting this approach is easy. Like many, my journey with Christianity has its challenges. I grapple with faith, with understanding, with being the individual I strive to be. But, just as the lessons from Jesus serve as an anchor in life, they can be the bedrock of our sales interactions.
The Triad of Belief encompasses belief in your industry, product or service, and most importantly, in yourself. It’s about transferring that belief to your customer, genuinely and authentically. The world of sales isn’t about mere transactions; it’s about connections, trust, and mutual growth.
As you continue your sales journey, remember that each interaction is an opportunity for discovery, understanding, and genuine service. If you ever find yourself in need of guidance on this path, consider seeking one-on-one Training, Coaching, or Life Coaching at Closer Classes.
The customer is ready to buy. He needs you to help him believe.
Unearthing genuine needs is the essence of sales. Drawing a parallel between Jesus’ conversation with the rich young ruler and the modern sales approach, the article emphasizes the importance of questions to understand and serve customers authentically. Sales is not just a transaction but a journey of mutual discovery and connection.