Define Selling for Successful Sales

Define Selling and You Define What It Takes to Be a Good Salesperson

Sales Handshake
••• Define selling for sales success. Image (c) Ariel Skelley / Getty Images


Selling is first and foremost a transaction between the seller and the prospective buyer or buyers (the target market) where money (or something considered to have monetary value) is exchanged for goods or services. So the best way to define selling is to focus on the sales skills that are necessary to make that transaction happen. Defining selling as the art of closing the deal encapsulates selling's essence.

If you're interested in improving your sales skills, you'll find that there are supposedly many kinds of selling that you should use or should avoid, such as high-pressure selling, persuasive selling, no-pressure selling, collaborative selling, etc., but all of them amount to conducting the same basic exchange in the end.


That being said, there is a huge difference between a basic sales exchange such as buying gas at a gas station for your car and buying a car.

In the first instance, the exchange is built on simple need. Your car's gas tank is empty; you need to fill it with gas. There may not be (and probably isn't) even a salesperson involved.

In the second, the exchange is built on manufactured need (created through marketing). You think you need a new car because you have been persuaded to believe that. Enter the salesperson to direct and meet your need.

So sales is actually a spectrum and most selling consists of performing the art of persuading the consumer that buying the product or service will benefit him or her.

Some people excel at directing and persuading; these are the super salespeople that truly are worth their weight in gold.

How Do You Sell Something?

Whatever product or service you're selling, then, you need to focus your selling efforts on communicating the benefits of your product or service to the consumer. The benefits may be tangible or intangible, but unless the individual consumer is convinced that he or she will personally experience the benefits, your product or service won't sell.

Think about it. Why do women smear color on their eyelids? Did anyone in the entire world ever actually need a hula hoop? That's the art of selling.

What Makes a Successful Salesperson?

  • The ability to build long-term relationships with customers one at a time. Most good salespeople think long-term and how they can leverage the current sale into more business in future from the same customer or via referrals.
  • The ability to listen and stay in tune with the needs of the customer. Too many salespeople spend all their time attempting to talk the prospective customer into purchasing the sale or service in question, without finding out what it is the customer actually wants. The customer may not be interested in the product you are selling but he/she may have a need for another product or service that you can fulfill now or in the future. Learn how to become an active listener.
  • Not promising what they can't deliver. Nothing turns off a customer faster than broken sales promises.
  • Tenacity. A good salesperson knows that it may take several attempts to make a sale and never gives up on a potential customer. Somewhere down the line an email or phone call reminder might close the deal. A good salesperson also knows where to draw the line between pursuing a potential sale and pestering the customer.
  • Self-motivation and a positive attitude. Successful salespeople have a high level of initiative and don't need micromanagment. They constantly look for new opportunities and view setbacks as learning experiences. They hold themselves accountable for their performance and don't blame others or current economic conditions for lack of success.

    Also Known As: Sales skills.

    Examples: Selling organic food is becoming more and more profitable as more consumers are willing to pay a premium for the benefit of food that's supposedly "healthier".