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Sales Enlightenment: The Art of Selling, Persuasion and Zen

Updated on September 9, 2014

Selling and Zen

Introduction to Zen Selling

Selling and Zen! Zen based selling? Is there such a thing as selling from zen or a zen to selling? I use this term zen, a little loosely, I must admit. Zen is another word for enlightenment. By enlightenment I mean that you work from a place of higher awareness and consciousness. Let me ask you a few questions to help you with this.

What is that one thing you are especially good at? So good that you might even venture to call yourself an expert? It doesn't matter what it is. It could be anything from brushing your teeth to Ice Skating.

When you are doing that one thing you're an expert at, your level of confidence in the action is very high. So high, in fact, that nothing can really stand in the way of your ability to perform the said action.

Do you have a sense of calm when you do this one thing you're an expert at? Do you have a sense of peace? Is the full knowledge of the action so in grained and are you so in tune with the behavior that you're, as they say, in the zone? Do you know what's coming before it happens?

Can you sell like that? Or rather, can you sell like that all the time? Consistently? Would you like to?

I'm going to go over three tools that you can use to help yourself become more consistent in your process and do it in a way that will allow you walk a path of least resistance.

So often selling gets dumped into a bad category and sales people are looked on in some kind of strange light. When in reality, we're all selling something. We're all sales people and if there wasn't buying and consequently selling going on, then we might as well just pack it up and go home because the world economy wouldn't have much of a chance if selling stopped.

In the move Boiler Room, Ben Afflick's character says something to the effect of "And there is no such thing as a no sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can't. Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close? You or him?"

So we're all selling. What side of the table are you on?

If you're in the profession of selling, this article will arm up up with three tools to survive the mental and emotional roller-coaster of sales and selling and also give you some ammo to take with you into the arena of selling daily and consistently.

What's your intention?

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Carry Your Intention

This could also be called "Sell Yourself First."

Let me, first, make an observation. When I go to work with a solid intention to sell something, I guarantee you a much better day than the days I "just show up." Even if I don't close a deal that day, I still leave knowing that I put forth 110% effort, fed my pipeline and got in front of as many people as possible. On the days I "just show up", I go home thinking about how work sucks, customers suck, management doesn't know what they're doing... but it's more me than anything else, guaranteed.

Yes, you can have a bad day, because some customers do suck, work can suck sometimes and there are a few times when management has no clue however, W.T.H. does that have to do with you ? When you carry your intention the quality of your day suddenly becomes up to you and not the world.

So, what does it mean, "Carry Your Intention?"

Carry your Intention goes beyond the question, what are your goals? Everybody has goals. Or at least they think they do. More often than not, a goal is not actually a goal but a dream disguised as a goal. A goal doesn't become a goal until it is specific enough to be measurable and have a time line.

With that in mind, make sure you go into your work day knowing your goal for: 1. That day; then 2. That week. Then make sure you have goals for that month, that year and that decade.

Now let's take a look at the word intention.

Intention can mean and relate back to words like will and will power, purpose and goal. You'll also hear about an individual being referred to as "a person with good intentions." A man preparing to court a lady or even marry one will be asked to "state his intentions." Meaning, is your plan of value? Do you have a strong moral and ethical reason for what you want to do now?

So to carry your intention with you into your sales cycle goes well beyond just having goals. It also means going deep into your self and knowing specifically why these goals are important to you and it means that the product or service you've decided to sell is something you believe in so strongly that you will stop at nothing to share it with the world.

Another aspect of the word Intention comes from Wayne Dyer. He wrote a whole book on the subject called, The Power of Intention . In this book, Dyer actually takes a giant leap to contend that Intention is actually a force that exists within nature. Intention, like gravity or wind, has certain principles and aspects that when you work within them you place yourself in a position to achieve not only the things you desire in life but the ability to finally comprehend and commune with a higher power. So often "God" gets almost demonized in the public media simply because of the many errors, flaws and sins of man that can make it very difficult for some people to embrace a higher power. The Power of Intention makes that higher power finally accessible to the agnostic, atheist, and fallen alike.

So this brings us back to carrying your intention. Make sure that your dreams are goals and that they serve a purpose much greater than just you. This purpose is something that will give you energy, drive and passion. Use it!

Are you selling on purpose or by accident

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Principle Centered Leadership

What can this teach you?

Know Your Purpose and Process

Would you like to have an edge over your competition? When you know your purpose and your process, you will be ten times better off than your competition. Most of the people you compete with in the business world are simply going through the motions and winging it.

If you just realized that this is you too, fix it as soon as humanly possible and watch your entire situation improve overnight!

Let's look at purpose first and then we'll talk process.

Your Purpose:

-Why are you here?

By that I mean why are you on this planet? That's a HUGE question! Perhaps too big for the scope of this Hub. Or maybe not? Look, I won't sit here and contend I know specifically what my purpose is. Heck, if you'd have asked me that when I was 9 I would have told you that playing 2nd base for the Dodgers was my purpose and when I was 16, becoming a professional actor would have been my answer. And now here I am writing to you about selling from a spiritual paradigm... go figure! So the point is, clearly, I, nor you have the specifics of purpose down pat. Of course, some folks do. For the rest of us, consider this:

1. "There are no ordinary moments." -Dan Millman said that.

2. "There are no accidents." -Wayne Dyer said that!

3. Wayne Dyer also said, "You will feel most on purpose when you're giving your life away in service to others.

Boom! There's the answer. So, add it up so far. Your dreams have been flushed, the ones remaining have been converted into goals and now that you have a firm, solid grasp of that how can you be of service to others and how can you improve the condition of others?

-What are you selling and why are you selling it? Do you believe in the product? Based on everything we've talked about so far, does the product you're selling now fit into this new outlook? Let's take a look at some famous salespeople who clearly believe in what they are selling...

  • Gandhi
  • Martin Luther King
  • Mother Teresa
  • Bill Gates
  • Steve Jobs
  • Barack Obama
  • Glenn Beck

See where I'm going with this? You don't have to agree with these people's beliefs to know that they are committed to their cause and selling it to the world in their actions, deeds and words.

Your purpose goes beyond your goals. Your purpose should be to help others. I used to work in a record store in High School and College. It was part of a chain, but was still run by some fairly well grounded people. They wanted to sell music and entertainment to people and in turn make a fair amount of money. Notice they put people first. When a larger company bought them out, suddenly it became more important to make the money and not focus on the quality of the employee and the quality of the customer experience. Where is the record store now? Sure you can blame the Internet and down-loadable music and movies, but seriously, have you been to a large chain movie rental establishment lately? No wonder the on-line retailers are kicking their butts. Do you know what the Internet buyer is basically saying when they buy on line? Forget convenience and price for a second! What they are saying is, "I would rather deal with my keyboard than the momos they got working there." People love to shop and they love to buy even more. This is America. But when the experience of buying sucks, with average (at best) employees, the store's all messed up, pricing is inconsistent, there's a lack of inventory and selection, apathetic sales people, etc... no wonder people go online.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, should be to help and be of service to the people you encounter in your business and to make their experience with you and your company such a fine experience that not only will they come back, but they'll send their friends and family to you as well.

And in order for that to happen you need a product or service that you can stand behind with as much passion and commitment as the individuals mentioned above.

Your Process:

This won't happen unless your process is inline with your dreams that are now goals, you're belief in your product or service is strong, and you are here to be of service.

So let's not forget why we're all here though... your purpose in helping others means that not only do you render the best service possible but you also help your client, customer, buyer make the decision to buy your product or service.

That means that your sales process and sales cycle needs to be built around a key principle of selling which is A.B.C. Always Be Closing.

Now for those of you who've seen Glengarry Glen Ross, this might have triggered some negative images of Alec Baldwin blasting the snot out of these poor sales guys.

What will really help you here is to recognize a specific principle. Principles are things that, similar to laws, rarely change or move. Check out the video for a giggle and an example.

Now the principle is this: As a sales person who believes in their product as strongly as you do, you now have a moral and ethical obligation to, as Baldwin put it, "get them to sign on the line which is dotted." Now this means that, once again, you personally are so sold on your product or service and you and you're client have determined that this is the best thing for them right now. So to not deliver this product or service to this particular client at this time would actually be detrimental to the over all well being of your prospect.

Your sales process needs to be there for you to have a guidance system to take you through the steps necessary to determine if this is the right product or service for your client (and if it isn't, what is?) and then to finalize the sale. Keep in mind, there's a huge difference between conviction and pressure. Pressure is for weak sales people who don't believe in their product and are too focused on getting the buyer's money and not on being of service. Remember the Record Store analogy? Believe in your product and then design your process around guiding your client along the path to an improved situation.

Now, the next question is... How do I do that? You need to educate yourself. This Hub should do nothing more than light a fire under your backside and stimulate a craving for applicable knowledge to the concepts I'm talking about here. When you know it's time to gather more knowledge and get more tools in your toolbox, take a look at and study the books I've recommended here...

Detach From The Outcome

A quick and highly important disclaimer to this section: Being detached from the outcome does not mean that you don't care how the exchange ends!

That's VERY important for you to grasp. Remember, A.B.C. Got it? OK, on word and up word as they say...

So where are you at right now?

  • Are you completely sold on your product or service?
  • Have you decided to and dedicated yourself to delivering this product or service to any and all in need of it?
  • Is your process firmly in place and are you willing to be flexible enough to work with any and all situations that may arise?
  • Are you willing to get in there with your buyer and tough it out no matter how uncomfortable it may be because this is the right thing to do right now?

If the answer was a confident yes to all four then the next thing to do is...

Detach from the outcome! That's right. Detach from the outcome. There comes a time in your process where at some point, you will have to let the god of selling take over and drive. I say that a little lightly but this is a crucial step for not only your peace of mind but in developing your ability to get the deal. When you have FULL knowledge of your product, client, and yourself you are now to able to allow the close unfold on it's own.

You're ego (your brain's developed idea of who you are) may only be trying to help, but the reality of it is, it may very well be hurting you. If your need to win is too strong, if you just have to be right all the time, if you believe you're superior, if your need for more is obsessive, if you think you are what you accomplish, or that your reputation defines you, then you're ego is running rampant on your life and costing you money.

Yes that is paradoxical, but explaining the Tao is beyond the scope of this Hub!

"Infinite patience produces immediate results." -A Course In Miracles

At some point here you will have to give it up to God or who ever your higher power of choosing is. Look at a professional bowler. No matter how good he is, once that ball leaves his hands, sooner or later, it's out of his control. Same thing goes for the pitcher at a baseball game (often referred to in the 9th inning as a closer) and the batter at the other end. And speaking of batting... look at the batting average. The best hitters in the game have a 300 to 350 average. That means they "fail" more often than they succeed.

Learn from your mistakes? Yes!

Get all hung up on 'em? No. Bad idea.

Did you bring your A-Game? Did you play full out?

That is what's most important...

Now what was that you said about allowing the close to unfold on it's own? I will explain with a challenge. Go outside and plant an apple seed in the ground. Now will it to grow faster. I dare you. But why doesn't that happen? Your will cannot force something to happen before it's time. All you can due to reap the ripe fruit is to water, prune, nurture and care. You help the tree along so it can blossom and produce fruit.

Being detached from the outcome means you've done everything you can possibly do to make it happen. It means that you have, as Wayne Dyer puts it, not only chosen success but you have become success.

How About You?

Do these concepts make sales more accessible to you?

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Into The World...

So there you have it. A whole new way to see the world of sales and selling. I read a book a while back by a guy named Blair Singer called Sales Dogs. The subtitle to his book changed my way of thinking about selling. It was "You don't have to be an attack dog to be successful in sales." Wow! I thought. There's hope for me yet!

What about you? What did you get out of this? Is your vision of sales and selling changing a little bit? Does this article make selling a bit more accessible for you? What part of this was new to you? Did I miss anything? Thanks for coming along! Feel free to share your thoughts below...

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    • profile image

      The rush for 1million in sales 

      2 years ago

      Detachment from the outcome is possibly the most import qualifying factor for the attitude of the salesperson himself, reason being is that you can't come off as having "sales breathe". The internet and media have influenced how people react/respond to a person they perceive as being just another "salesperson", you must convince the customer that you're a friend offering a service or advice aimed to showcase a service (and thus ultimately snag the sale) not some used car guy looking for quick suckers.

    • David R Bradley profile imageAUTHOR

      David R Bradley 

      8 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      Dale, glad you liked it man. Just curious, what part of this article impacted you the most?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      David, totally awesome article. I need to read this over again to absorb it all.

    • David R Bradley profile imageAUTHOR

      David R Bradley 

      8 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      Let us know if you closed the deal!

    • vrbmft profile image

      Vernon Bradley 

      8 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Amazing. I am sitting here in a classroom. I had expected at least five people. There now is one. I have a small stack of books and the question is do I do my schpeel? Only one person. Will that be intimidating? Well, I will go back to the principles I just read above. First detach from my fearful imagination of outcome! I know this person already likes me. They told me they prefer this class over another! So what am I waiting for? THANKS TO THE MOST FAMOUS SALESMAN IN THE WORLD, DAVID BRADLEY!



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