Serve, don't sell

The “takers” of the world want your money; their first inclination is to sell you something – anything – so that you give them more money.

Too often, selling means distorting the truth. In order to close a deal, you have to shift the details in your favor:

YES! Sugar water is fun! It will make you happy! You will be loved! Drink sugar water!

Here’s a far better strategy: serve the best interests of people you want to impress.

Doing this will require some common sense. It will require the courage to stand up to takers, who are very good at deluding themselves that what is best for them is also best for others.

To offer a simple example, do you know what is the most effective and profitable way to attract new customers?

Advertising? No.

Sales calls? No.

Social media? No.

The best way to get new customers is through referrals. People take a risk when they recommend you to their friends, and people understand this. So, when your friend or colleague tells you how much she liked dealing with a company, you tend to pay attention.

Before a customer can give you a referral, you have to serve that customer.

Serve first, and only then, sell. Most companies get this backwards.