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As salespeople, we are driven by our need to sell. Whether it’s the drive to win, attainment, commissions/earnings, or pressure from our managers, we have a high need to sell.

Unfortunately, our need to sell is absolutely meaningless to customers. In fact, the more strongly we execute on that need, the more we alienate our customers.

Regular readers know I’m prone to analogies. The analogy here is that our need to sell can be likened to pushing a rope uphill. The more we push, the less progress we make–ultimately, we have a tangled mess.

But if someone’s at the top of the hill, pulling on the rope, selling, all of a sudden becomes much easier, and we are aligned with the customer.

Continuing on the analogy, how do we get our customer “pulling?”

Clearly, if the customer is into a buying process, they will create a “pull.”

The higher their sense of urgency, the greater that pull. As a result, if we want to create a very strong pull on the part of the customer, we have to focus on creating a high sense of urgency.

That urgency has nothing to do with what we sell, it’s always about the customer and their business. If the customer has no compelling need to change, then they have no urgency or no need to buy.

If the customer believes the risks/costs of the change are greater than doing nothing, then they have no need to buy.

Sometimes we have to get the customer pulling on that rope. We have to incite the need to change—notice I said the need to change, not the need to buy. At the risk of repeating myself, until there is a compelling need to change, there is no need to buy and we are pushing the rope uphill.

Inciting the need to change is, all about them. What opportunities are they missing? What could they do to drive growth? What could they do to improve their ability to acquire/serve their customers? What risks do they need to address? How can they improve their operational efficiency–cut costs, improve margins? How can they put sanity back into their personal lives?

All of these things are about creating a compelling need to change. Once they realize, “Our current state is unacceptable, we must change,” we can help create the vision of where they need to go, how they get there, and how we can help them get there.

Selling becomes so much easier when we stop pushing ropes up hill and get the customer pulling.