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What’s the difference between selling and serving others in the B2B market?

If you are like most people, your answer is that selling is Yucky with a capital Y and serving others is a sacred calling.

However, I see it quite differently.

Selling is the process that enables us to serve others through our paid work.

Selling is service to others made tangible.

Sales at its best consists of determining what products and services best meet client needs and then facilitating the purchase with honesty and persistence. The sales system may include educating, matching up customer needs with the offering and relationship development.

Intrinsic to effective selling is identifying those in need of the service or product. Sure, our selling is a nuisance to the Wrong People, but it benefits the Right People who have a need now or may have a need in the future.

We are tempted see selling as icky because the transaction involves money and we are at the receiving end. The monetary payoff may distort our view of the sales process if we allow it to, as though all our service is a sham, a game played with the ulterior motive of collecting money.

Effective selling is a win-win. Both sides benefit.

In B2B service professions, the seller benefits from the satisfaction of serving the client and the monetary reward that keeps him in business to serve additional clients in the future.

And the buyer benefits from the satisfaction of obtaining services her company needs to, in turn, serve its clients and generate income for the company. And the individual buyer receives income for doing her job.

There’s nothing unsavory or awkward about getting paid. It’s a necessary part of the process and it keeps us in business so we are here to serve again on another day.

Getting paid is not an ulterior motive. It is a perfectly honorable motive.

This intrinsic part of the sales process motivates us to serve our clients ever more effectively.

Because the more we serve, the more we earn.

When we find—and offer—more ways to benefit our clients, we benefit ourselves financially as well.

I was talking recently with super VA / VA trainer Kathy Goughenour about how virtual assistants can build their businesses.

Specifically, we discussed how as they get more involved in a client’s business, they discover more ways to help the client. And with each suggestion the client accepts, the VA earns more money.

Know of a Wordpress gizmo that solves a problem that the owner has but is not aware of?

Think that the client’s keyword selection process is weak but he is oblivious to the possibility of improvement?

See some out-of-date copy on the website that you could update or improve?

Don’t keep it to yourself. Tell the client and make more money.

Think this is self-serving?

Of course it is.

But it also serves the client.

What’s the difference between selling and service? When done effectively and ethically, they’re the same thing.

Originally posted 11-9-10

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