Mushotoku seems far removed from traditional advice about selling products or services. Sales training that doesn’t seek personal profit? And yet, there is one very practical application of Zen in selling.
It would be disrespectful to true practitioners of Zen Buddhism to take the analogy further. Zen is a study that requires years of practice, meditation, and learning to eliminate all thoughts of greed and desires.
In our sales programs we suggest the most important rule of making a good first impression and building relationships is to “forget about yourself completely.”
There is something very powerful about meeting your prospective client without thinking about yourself, focused only on how you can help. When you forget about yourself completely and focus only on the prospect, you display a calm sense of confidence. You’re there to help. Your attitude changes. Your demeanor softens. You are curious and looking for solutions, not probing for ‘hot buttons’.
The secret of forgetting yourself completely?
- Arrive prepared
- Do your homework
- Arrive on time
- Bring everything you need to be helpful and resourceful for the benefit of the customer
- You are confident you can help this person as you’ve helped others in the past
- Know other solutions you can recommend if your company’s solutions will not benefit the customers
Whether they buy something or not, you are there to serve. This attitude can’t be faked. It takes practice. It takes an attitude of letting go. The more you give away, the more satisfaction you get. It gets better with experience, but the sooner you begin to practice, the better you will get. It’s not a sales technique as much as it is a way of being.
Will the customer notice you are different than every other salesperson they’ve met? Probably. Will they be more inclined to open up and talk about their needs? Yes. Will they be more likely to want to do business with you? Yes, but that’s just a coincidental bonus. To think otherwise wouldn’t be Zen.