I got a text message a few weeks ago that reminded me of a basic fact of my existence, and the existence of most everyone involved in sales and marketing of any kind.

We get paid for our promises.

This specific text message was nothing special. It was from my bank – an alert that a client had sent me an engagement fee for a consulting project… And that’s when it struck me. I had given this client no samples; no brochures; nothing tangible at all. We had just talked.


That’s it. He sent me some money because we talked. I implied that I could help solve a problem, in essence I just promised to help. He believed me, so he sent the money that I asked for.

In many ways, this is the heart of all business. A lawyer promises to solve a legal problem. An investment adviser promises to care for your money. A restaurant promises to give you good food and good service. A brand promises to deliver a consistent experience.

Not all of these promises are kept, but buyers buy because they believe that they will be kept.

So I know – this is not earth shattering news, but it is an important perspective nonetheless. Our customers will buy from us if – and only if – they believe our promises.

So then, in order to sell, we need to be convincing. We can do this honestly or not.

To be convincing in a dishonest way won’t get you repeat business, referrals, recommendations or peace of mind. So let’s forget about that and focus on the honest approach.

The best way to be convincing in an honest way is to know our business well, and to communicate that clearly and with conviction. Let’s break that down.

Know our business:
No matter what you sell, you probably spend more time on it than your clients do. This gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge and to help them make a buying decision in a more informed way than they could without you.  Take this perspective – that you help the prospective client buy with your informed input, and you both will be happy with the interactions you have and the transactions you make together.

Communicate it clearly:
Over time, you will find that many of your customers want to know similar things about your business.  You will also find that certain ways of saying what you have to say resonate better with prospective clients.  Figure these things out.  On the other side, there are certain questions that are the most fruitful in getting the information you need, or certain statements that your clients make that require some clarification in order for you to get the most clear picture of their situation.  Communication is how you will differentiate yourself and simultaneously learn about the needs of the client.  Study this well and master it.  It will – unquestionably – make all of the difference in the world.

Communicate it with conviction:
Never – ever sell something you don’t believe in.  That said, if you believe in your product or service, and believe that the prospective client will benefit from using it, let your enthusiasm show.  You don’t need to be a cheerleader or a carnival act to convey enthusiasm.  Simple body language and tone of voice are enough.  When you believe in your product, and discuss it with energy and enthusiasm, your clients will notice.  Be subtle about it, but know your business, believe it in and speak about it with conviction.

When you communicate clearly and with conviction, and your communication has value to the client because you know your business well, then it is easy for people to believe you, and to accept your promises.  This is not a quick fix or a magic act, but if you do the work to be believable, it might just feel like one when it comes time to count up your results.


Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)

So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.

If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:

The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.

Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.

The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.

If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.

Here’s to your success!