You have a choice. You can insist your sales staff sell like SALESMEN and limit their success, your company’s success and the success of the entire sales profession, or you can teach them to position themselves in alliance with their prospects, customers and competitors instead of as adversaries.

The traditional selling model most companies subscribe to today disregards the real needs of prospects and customers. ‘Traditional selling’ encourages salespeople to sell anything to anyone willing to part with their money, doing whatever it takes to close the sale because quotas, commissions and  employers’ threats of dismissal leave them no choice. Are you one of these employers? The fastest way to alienate customers is to sell them things that don’t fit, that they don’t need or that don’t perform as promised. The fastest way to alienate your sales staff is to perpetuate a culture of fear and promote a mercenary selling philosophy.

Tangent teaches that if your product or service line fits the needs of your prospect/customer … go ahead and close the sale. But if it doesn’t fit, then deputize your competitors. In other words, help your prospect/customer find the product/service that does fit, even if the sale has to go to a competitor.

Offer to research the market on behalf of your prospect. Check out every alternate supplier until you find their Holy Grail. If you can broker an alternate product or service without having your prospect deal directly with your competitor, fine. But do not mark it up nor hide the name of the alternate supplier. Simply ask your prospect if she would rather you broker the sale at no added cost to her, or if she would prefer to deal directly with the other supplier.

Sound counter intuitive? It’s not. Your customer/prospect will be indebted to you and respect and admire your selfless act of allegiance to her. She will not only sing your praises and that of your company, but the moment she has an opportunity to do business with you again, she’ll be your customer for life.

And because you deputized your competitor and brought a sale to his door … he may reciprocate.