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By David Harder on February, 17, 2017

The Great Sales Disconnect – Why some people don’t even sell themselves

There is a huge disconnect between what constitutes old and new sales techniques.


Drawing healthy and effective attention to ourselves is one of the most crucial skills of thriving in the modern world. It is more of a skill library than one single ability and it includes being able to present, sell, build a community and develop strong support systems. Unfortunately, many organizations reflect their collective discomfort of learning these abilities with the dismissive term “soft skills.” The skills are not only critical in a world filled with continual change, they are crucial aspects of being able to change oneself. At Inspired Work, we feel it is more honest to call them “courage skills” because that is what is required to learn them.


But, for those of us who don’t spend much time selling, when we think of sales we think of someone making a pitch and overcoming objections. Not only is that form of sales ineffective, it is horribly uncomfortable for everyone. I found this out when I was a young sales manager in the 80’s. I ran staffing operations and the typical way we pursued business was to go out to companies, try to speak to irritated human resource executives and win business through sheer persistence and by having the most winning personality. It was exhausting for everyone. Sadly, the old-school mindset of sales persists irritating potential customers and creating jobs with very low levels of satisfaction. I’ve been in a few of these meetings recently, where I cannot get in a word edgewise and the seller just drones on. This is sales through exhaustion and it rarely works alienating many prospects as well as the salespeople forced to use these ancient and intrusive techniques. It is the least effective form of sales and this is what most people are thinking of when they get uptight about selling.


Human beings are hardwired to be able to think about something or someone other than themselves a maximum of fifteen seconds. This is a behavioral science fact. That one piece of information makes pitch selling obsolete. State-of-the-art selling isn’t about you! It is about the needs and expectations of the person in front of you. If our quest is to do a better job of fulfilling those needs and expectations than we are not there making the conversation about ourselves, it is all about them. I find with many of our participants that realizing this one fact makes sales less daunting.


Drawing attention to ourselves is also less daunting the more that we do it. Dale Carnegie famously told a story about the fears of public speaking. He talked about traveling by rail through farm country. He asked what was the difference between the horse that was hiding behind the barn terrified of the noise from the train and the horse standing near the tracks calmly eating. The second one was used to the train. There are not shortcuts to doing the work of skillfully connecting with others. Get used to the train!


Learn how to ask questions. Learn how to listen. That is a far more noble and comfortable form of sales – for all of us.


Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work, Inc. (310) 277-4850


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