Salespeople: The Role is NOT to Sell


I travel a lot. In fact, many full-time salespeople do. It’s the nature of the beast in sales. As I type this I’m on a flight to Melbourne Australia, on the first leg of seven countries on three continents this month alone. Two weeks ago I was in Hong Kong and a month before that I was in Bali. Bottom line… I spend a great deal of time in airports. As such, I spend much of that time in airport bookshops. What I see in every single airport, in dozens of countries, is very similar.

Books on How Salespeople Do Things

There seems to be a pattern around the world of B2B and B2C sales literature.

  • 10 Ways to do this.
  • 15 Surefire ways to do that.
  • 21 Irrefutable Laws on this.
  • 5 Ways to think about that.

The list goes on and on and on. You get the idea: Cold Calling, Negotiating, Presenting, etc. On my most recent layover, I counted all the “ways” to do something on the book covers. If I were to read every title in that single bookstore, I would have over 600 different ways to do everything. Firstly, each and every book swears that their number is unequivocally THE best way to do them. So surely if I read them all, I’d be the best at everything, right? Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying these are all wastes of time and a bunch of hogwash. Secondly, some of them are good ideas, but they all center on what you can do to convince the buyer to buy. As such, they all miss the most important point of all.

What is the Role of Salespeople?

Our role is not to sell the buyer anything. I know you’re in sales, and on the surface, this flies in the face of why you were hired. Doesn’t make it right though. So now, I’m going to write the world’s shortest book on how to shorten your sales cycle, close more sales, and do it with higher margins. The title of my soon-to-be bestseller is revolutionary. It will cause a butterfly effect of positive disruption across the planet, and it will change the way you do everything. Are you ready? As readers of my blog, you all get an advance copy of the book for free and in advance.

salespeople books

Sales Book Title: This One Thing

Chapter One:

Your role as a seller is simple. There aren’t 600 ways to do it; there is just “This One Thing.”

Stop trying to sell anything!

The end.

So, there it is. Literary genius in the making, one singular action item to end them all. No more chaos, no more questions, and no more myriad ways to do the only thing salespeople need to do to become successful. “This One Thing.”

As a new author of this revolutionary epiphany, I am virtually required to follow it up with another new bestseller to the first book. Great news again! I’m going to release it to my readers once again for free and in advance. Furthermore, faithful friends here is the second soon-to-be planetary bestseller.

Sales Book Title: How to do This One Thing

Chapter One:

Help your client make the best and most informed, intelligent decision possible, even if that isn’t you. Become their Trusted Advisor.

The end.

There you have it. Two books each with one chapter, and the end of you having to figure out 600 ways to do what is very simple. I suppose I could have written two chapters in the first book and done it all then but hey, I’m now an in-demand best-selling author and my fans have expectations! Lastly, the key points to remember here are simple. It isn’t about you and it’s all about them. Focus on that and you will sell more and sell it more often.

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2 thoughts on “Salespeople: The Role is NOT to Sell

  1. Mike Kunkle (@Mike_Kunkle) says:


    I love it, because the way we actually sell more is through customer focus and solving customer problems. I’ve been writing about this recently, too.

    I sometimes wish that we could rename “selling,” or better, redefine it to reflect your obvious intent for this post. Selling isn’t some bad thing to stop. It shouldn’t be related to convincing someone to do something that isn’t right for them, or being all about the seller’s goals or quota. It should be exactly what you state. I wish we could just say, “Go forth and SELL LIKE CRAZY!” and have it mean exactly what you wrote. *sigh* Maybe we’ll get there some day, or change the word to selvice or servel. 😉

    The only thing I struggle with in being so direct about the service angle (and saying “stop selling”), is that after 2-3 quarters of helping customers that don’t buy from you and missing quota, you’d have an opportunity to join a customer service team, elsewhere. 😉

    With that in mind, the thing I’d put in the blender with your simple, clear “One Thing,” is to be smart enough to find a lot of customers who have problems you can solve, and then solve them better, smarter, faster, and with more caring than your competitors. That does also come across in your summary, when you say… “It isn’t about you and it’s all about them. Focus on that and you will sell more and sell it more often”… but I think it’s worth stating explicitly, too.

    Safe travels, and keep the great thoughts rolling!


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