There are three stages in the practice of selling.
The vast majority of both sales books and sales coaching are about the first two. I like these two. A lot. I think both of them are critical to study.
And, getting locked into either is completely missing the point.
Stage 1: Selling to Get
This is what most people think of when they think of sales.
Used car salesmen. Heavy-pressure closing techniques. Selfish and deceitful money-grubbing NLP-infused $997-for-today-only sales.
A lot of sales instruction is actually about this kind of selling, disguised with not-so-subtle reframes.
E.g. “Using an assumptive close isn’t manipulating the prospect. It’s just bringing the conversation to its logical conclusion.”
Why Stage 1 Is Great:
It’s hard for most of us to do (because it’s gross, and we don’t want to be gross), so it can result in personal growth and real freedom from the need to be liked
It emphasizes the craft of selling— tactics, influence principles, etc.— which makes sense to do, if you want to sell well
It’s honest, in that it’s a direct expression of the reality that we do, in fact, want to close deals and make money.
Why Stage 1 Is Terrible:
Acting purely selfishly isn’t fulfilling
You can instill in yourself a permanent subconscious hatred of sales by repeatedly compromising your own values for the sake of closing deals
Smelling like greed and manipulation isn’t actually good for business.
Stage 2: Selling to Give
This is an increasingly popular form of sales practice—especially in personal development communities.
It’s a 180 from Stage 1. In Stage 2, selling isn’t about making money—it’s about being of service.
I don’t just mean seeming to be of service. It’s not just about offering free consultations, avoiding tacky closing techniques, and being nice to people (though those are common external expressions of this stage).
It’s about doing everything genuinely for the sake of others.
You wake up in the morning and ask yourself, “how can I be of service?”
And then in every single sales conversation you have, you do your absolute utmost to benefit the person you’re talking to.
You don’t focus on making money. You focus on bravely loving the people you’re with, and money simply happens to flow in as a result.
Why Stage 2 Is Great:
Being of service is fulfilling.
You are much more likely to benefit the world if you are genuinely trying to
If you’re focused on helping others, you feel way less guilty taking their money.
Why Stage 2 Is Terrible:
It often leads people to ignore the craft of selling, and thus to sell badly
It blocks access to the powerful motivation to action that selfish impulses provide
Its entire reason for success is that it successfully avoids. You do want to close deals. You do want to make money. You do want to become terrifyingly powerful in your ability to influence. Service-based selling is founded on a constant denial of these simple facts.
Stage 3: Selling to Wake The Fuck Up.
There is another way to sell. One that is both purely selfish and completely selfless.
It is aimed wholeheartedly at serving, loving, empowering, opening, giving.
And, it is rooted deeply in greed, ambition, scarcity, fear, and rage.
It is simultaneous goal-orientation and relaxation into presence, intention and surrender, ascent and descent.
No special effort or style is required to access this kind of selling.
All that’s needed is to honestly experience reality.
A lot of people ask me what I mean when I say that “selling is the fastest path to awakening.”
What I mean is that I don’t know of any other practice, including rigorous meditation, that so intensely both demands and fuels the daily penetration of the dualistic illusion– if you let it.
You can sell for your own sake; you can sell for others. Or you can sell to remember that there isn’t actually a difference.