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Here’s What You Don’t Know About Sales

Everyone is in sales.


Not just because we’re almost all involved in some way at some point in our life actually increasing revenues, asking for a raise, gathering donations, helping to keep a customer, or literally calling on prospects and collecting payment.

Sales is all that but sales is much more than that.

Sales, the study of sales, and the art of selling extends far beyond issues related to just gathering money – even though that’s traditionally what we all think about.

Sales is the psychology of moving people to take positive action.

Sales is studying, understanding, and implementing strategies to help someone create change in their life.

Sales is compelling someone to go from where they are to a better place they could be.

Sales isn’t just about overcoming objections; sales is about doing the genius work of influencing someone to break free of the inertia in their life of how they’ve always done things.

Sales is about inviting someone to engage in the process of improving their own situation.

Sales is about challenging someone to break free of their comfort zone to live a better life.

So if you’re a teacher trying to get students to learn….

If you’re a doctor trying to get patients to change their lifestyle…

If you’re a parent trying to get your kids to brush their teeth…

If you’re a recruiter trying to get someone to join…

If you’re any kind of a coach…

Or any kind of a campaigner…

Or any kind of evangelist…

Or any kind of leader…

Then you are in sales!

Because you are engaging in the process of moving people to take positive action.

And the sooner you embrace that you’re in sales, the sooner you can learn and be coached to do it the right way instead of the wrong way.

In the past, you may have resisted thinking of yourself as a salesperson.

If so, it’s likely because you thought of sales as “talking people into stuff they don’t want.”

But that’s not sales!

Sales isn’t talking people into stuff they don’t want.

Sales is helping people figure out what is best for them.

Sales is moving people to take positive action.

Sales is teaching.

Sales is coaching.

Sales is recruiting.

Sales is evangelizing.

Sales is campaigning.

Sales is leading.

Most of all…

Sales is serving.

That’s why we at Southwestern Consulting use the term “Servant Selling” and that’s why we coach people from all different types of professions about how to sell.

We’re teaching them the eloquent art of moving people to take positive action.

And perhaps you’ve followed this blog because you first heard about us from our Take the Stairs book on self-discipline and overcoming procrastination.

Or perhaps you heard about us from our Ted talk on prioritizing and multiplying time.

Or maybe you heard about us from our leadership virtual training Mastermind.

And so maybe you’ve wondered “Why does Rory write so often about selling? What does self-discipline, procrastination, leadership, and productivity have to do with selling?”

And the answer is, it has everything to do with selling because selling is moving people to take positive action!

If you can learn to sell then you can learn to lead, teach, coach, or recruit.

If you can learn to sell you can learn to help and you can learn to serve.

So embrace selling, learn to sell and help people take positive action in their own lives starting now.

A First Step of Solving Almost Every Problem

A First Step of Solving Almost Every Problem

One of the biggest reasons why people struggle with solving problems is because they often overlook this critical first step.

Because no matter what the problem is or what the circumstance, you’re best hope for solving it almost always requires the exact same beginning.

You have to take ownership of the problem.

You have to internalize responsibility for your problem.

You have to resolve that regardless of how the problem came to be, it’s both your duty and your ability to find the solution.

It’s not something that you rely on someone else or something else to solve.

Because until you own your problem you can’t own your solution.

When you encounter a problem that you believe is the result of something outside yourself, then you will never be able to have power over that problem.

It is something that is happening to you of which you are just a bystander and a spectator.

By definition, its outside your control.

But when you own your problem, when you take responsibility for its existence, and when you decide that you’re in charge of fixing it, things start to change.

You stop viewing it as something that is occurring to you and you start viewing it as something you can maneuver.

You stop experiencing it and you start influencing it.

You stop being affected by it and you start affecting it.

Once you own your problem, you create the opportunity to find the solution.

Because if it happened to you through no fault of your own, then you are just an unfortunate victim of circumstances that are beyond your control.

But If you decide that you played some part in creating it, and you own it as your fault, then you can play the lead role in solving it.

And even if you didn’t create the problem. Even if the problem did result from something outside your control. You can still do something about it.

There are always things within your control that you can do. So do those things and never let any problem be an excuse for why you don’t focus on what is in your control.

While you can’t always control whether or not problems show up, you can always control how you respond to them and what you do about them.

One way or another, your life is your fault.

So own the problem.

Then own the solution.

Servant Selling

Don’t just be in sales; be on a mission.

Be so convicted in what you do that you have no choice to tell everyone you know about it.

Don’t just be closing deals; be changing lives.

Don’t just be pushing products; be transforming customers.

Don’t just be selling; be serving.

Transformational Selling


Find the need.

Uncover the pain.

Discover their problem.

Those are classic principles and practices of professional marketing salesmanship.

And they are powerful because not only do they work, but they also do provide a great service in that they get people emotional enough to catalyze them moving past procrastination and into taking the action they need to improve their situation.

There’s nothing wrong with that (as long as it’s not manipulative and as long as your solution actually works) and so you can keep doing that. But that’s not the only way to sell.

Servant Selling is also about creating a vision for what’s possible.

Servant Selling is also about inventing a more positive future outcome.

In other words, Servant Selling isn’t just about focusing on the pain; it’s about also focusing on the promise.

It’s teaming up with your prospect together to design a new richer future for them.

It’s understanding what their ideal situation would really look like and then collaborating with them to craft a plan for how to make that become real.

That kind of Selling is transformational.

That kind of Selling is supportive.

That kind of Selling moves you from persuasion to partnership.

It moves you from being a presenter to being a visionary.

It moves you from being an order taker to being an artist.

And it moves you from being a solicitor to being a servant.

Plus, talking about the promise – and not just the pain – keeps you focused on producing a desirable result for your prospects and your customers.

It focuses you on providing real value and delivering actual results.

That’s what people want: results.

They want a new and improved situation.

They want something that actually works and that actually delivers.

What they don’t want is to be sold something just because they had a need.

They want the problem actually solved and the potential actually realized.

So remember selling isn’t only about solving problems; it’s also about inventing possibilities.

Where Happiness Comes From


Pursuing happiness is not what brings happiness.

Pursuing service is what brings happiness.

When we pursue happiness we convince ourselves that if we had something else, did something else, or had something more then it would make us feel better.

But if stuff or experiences was what made people happy, then we all should be happy already because most of us already have plenty of stuff.

Serving though is what always fills us up.

Serving brings us joy.

Serving supplies meaning for our lives.

There is something magical about the exchange that takes place when we help other people.

Our connectedness to another human makes us happy.

Our usefulness to someone outside of us makes us happy.

Our contribution to something greater than ourselves makes us happy.

There is nothing like the feeling you get when you serve someone. When you pour into them and fill them up.

The irony is that in dedicating your time, your energy, and your resources to serving others, you gain in return that ever fleeting feeling that we are all endlessly in search of: happiness.

The First 20 Books You Should Read as a Servant Seller


Not counting the 2 books that I’ve written, and the Bible, which I would genuinely recommend as fabulous resources, here are the first 20 books I think all Servant Sellers should have to read, the order I’d suggest reading them in, and why…

  1. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino – Sales is an emotional roller coaster and I don’t know how salesperson could possibly survive without the timeless wisdom and encouragement of this book. “The Scrolls” that are presented will change your entire life. If you are in sales, you absolutely must read this.


  1. The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann – Never before has a book so closely captured the core central theme of “Servant Selling” as this short paradigm shifting read. One of my absolute favorite books of all-time. Hard to list this as #2 on any list because it’s so magnificent.


  1. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy – Simply put, sales is a numbers game and the person who talks to the most qualified number of prospects in the shortest amount of time wins. Darren explains why and takes “the extra mile” to a whole new level. This is another book that will change your life.


  1. The Travelers Gift by Andy Andrews – This book is similar in nature to #1 in that it’s fun to read, encouraging, and a fable of sorts that delivers timeless truths that will keep you inspired. Andy Andrews is one of the greatest story tellers of all time.


  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale CarnegieSales is always and only about your skill with people – and I don’t know how anyone could survive in that role without having read the world’s seminal work on dealing with people.


  1. Navigate 2.0 by Dustin Hillis and Steve Reiner – Think of DISC but for salespeople and that’s what you have all wrapped up into this a neat package here. This easy to read book is a practical guide for how to understand, relate with, and specifically sell to the basic human behavior profiles. With it’s immediately actionable tactics and strategies, it’s essential to a new sales library.


  1. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi Sales is all about relationships and this book eloquently captures the why and the how of developing meaningful and lasting relationships in all areas of your life. A wonderful gem and mandatory reading for anyone in sales.


  1. What’s the Secret? by John DiJulius – This is technically a customer service book, but John’s philosophy about providing “Secret Service” is one of the most powerful and practical concepts that has shaped my entire life. If you can learn to incorporate these principles into your business it will change you forever.


  1. YouTility by Jay BaerThis is technically a content marketing book but has permanently shaped my view for how to relay your expertise to prospects to drive sales. This book is one that will forever define a large part of how the future of sales is done.


  1. The Trust Edge by David HorsagerThis book is just an absolutely solid universal read on the foundational principles of success. It should be mandatory reading not just for every salesperson, but for every human who goes through high school. And understanding what creates and destroys trust is central in developing your ability to influence other people.


  1. Start With Why by Simon Sinek – “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” That is one of just a few signature lines from this book that will change the way you sell forever. Ultimately, selling is a transference of emotion and this book our generation’s seminal work on inspiring others.


  1. Fascinate by Sally HogsheadThis is a powerful read on understanding what makes us attracted to brands and people. Sally’s 49 archetypes are well researched, scientific, and critical to understand if you want to attract more people to doing business with you.


  1. Go For No by Andrea Waltz and Richard FentonThe title pretty well sums up the message, but you can’t hear it enough because this mental shift is something you can attach your lifeline to if you’re in sales. A delightful short read that will program your brain for sales success.


  1. Mastering the Complex Sale by Jeff ThullThis one is a bit more “technical” than the others listed here but it has some powerful concepts you need to know such as “the myth of the decision maker.” It’s one of the best “how to” books on sales ever written. If you’re in complex selling, this will be your bible, but all salespeople should give it a read.


  1. Every Good Endeavor by Timothy KellerAnother one that you might not expect to be on a list like this since it’s a Christian book. However, this book will radically change the way you view and think about “work” which is an absolute necessity if you are going to go from selling to serving.


  1. Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus by John GrayUnless you’re selling to all people who are the same gender as you, you will need to understand how the mind of the opposite sex thinks.


  1. 5 Love Languages by Gary ChapmanThis book is fundamental to being able to understand, communicate with, and influence people. Technically, this is a book about romantic relationships, but don’t underestimate it’s power as a sales necessity.


  1. To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink – This is a thought provoking read about how we’re all in sales, and sales is a part of life. Dan Pink is one of the smartest people on the planet and having his social scientist view on sales is helpful to round out your own thinking of what it means to sell.


  1. Influence by Robert Cialdini – Another timeless classic about the psychology of what moves people to make decisions. Almost feels like mandatory reading for sales 101.


  1. Failing Forward by John Maxwell – Sales is littered with rejection. John Maxwell is one of the all-time greats and in this book specifically he will help you constructive a positive paradigm around handling things that don’t go your way.

 I don’t personally see how anyone could reach their true sales potential without reading these 20. If nothing else, it’s a tremendously powerful start on your way to becoming a true servant seller!