by Tom Reilly

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” (Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds)

A few days ago, I was talking to a young salesman about his enthusiasm for Value-Added Selling. He told me that he could see the financial advantages to adopting a value-added sales approach. I hear this a lot. In 1984, the price pressure that salespeople encountered nudged me to write the first edition of my book. But, it was never just about the money.

My motivation was to create a vision of a better way to sell. It remains my primary motivator. I entered business as a salesman with an educational background of psychology. I saw first-hand the potential. Salespeople could build a career on something more than financial gain. The vision was a noble profession that offers intrinsic satisfaction and extrinsic rewards. That dream is alive today.

So, I explained to the young salesman that Value-Added Selling is not just about the financial rewards, though they are substantial. Value-added salespeople sell products as a function of their solving problems, satisfying needs, and serving customers. They earn the right to sell their goods as a function of solving, satisfying, and serving. Value-Added Selling has always been about making a difference for the customer, not just about making a deal for you. This is the source of the intrinsic satisfaction. Value-added salespeople create value for their customers. Then, they get to participate in that value for their companies.

Value-Added Selling is more about making a difference than just making a deal.

This is a sales philosophy, not just a collection of techniques or methods. Those are merely tools that we use to guide the process. Some people are uncomfortable with this vision of business because it means subordinating one’s ego for the greater good of serving. Some see this as too lofty a goal for salespeople. Some people believe that this view of sales is naïve.

Then, there are those salespeople that embrace the philosophy and seek to make a difference. In the process, they discover that there is great satisfaction in pursuing this noble career. By the way, the extrinsic rewards are pretty good, too.

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