What does the meeting look like when someone is successful in selling me an idea? What happens is they run the conversation process so that, even though I might be expecting a selling pitch, it turns out to be a dialogue. They don’t just sell something to me; they work out something with me. At the end of an hour, I have the insight and want to run with an idea rather than feel like an idea is being imposed on me.
—Leonard Schlesinger, professor, Harvard Business School, and former chief operating officer, Limited Brands
In our research, we found the top two factors that most separate sales winners from second-place finishers are (1) “educated me on new ideas and perspectives” and (2) “collaborated with me” (Figure 6.2). When sellers do these things, they aren’t just selling the value; they are the value.
They are the value because they’re bringing insight in two ways:
In the ...