Are you selling FOR them or TO them?


First, let’s establish this truth. We are all sales people.

I don’t care if you are an engineer, a 3rd grade teacher, a social worker or a copier saleswoman. You are in sales.

Every single one of us needs to sell someone on something. It might be getting your boss to agree to closing the shop early on Fridays or getting your students to study over a week’s time rather than cramming the night before. Or it could be getting a prospect to give your copier a spin for 30 days.

So how do you sell? Where do you start? What questions do you ask yourself?

Whose bottom line do you worry about first? Yours or the customer’s?

Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies, wrote an excellent article on this point. She suggests that most sales people typically ask questions like:

“What do I need to convince them that we’re the best?”

She goes on to say that questions that are about selling TO a prospect won’t get you there. The real trick to successful sales is actually selling FOR your prospect. Ask yourself questions like:

“What can I (my company’s product) do to contribute to my customer’s success?”

When you worry about your prospect’s bottom line…it will take care of yours.

BONUS: Are you a smart, savvy woman who sells? Check out the Sales Shebang Conference. Just a quick drive to Minneapolis on September 23-24 and you can enjoy presenters like Konrath and many more.

Latest posts by Drew McLellan (see all)


  1. I really like this point. Sales is by far the most misunderstood profession within the realm of marketing. It’s such a good cause, just helping people solve their problems. It’s the telesales and other less honest salesmen that have given the entire industry an awful reputation.

  2. Hi Drew,

    Nice article and I something we all do to some degree. Several years ago I left my “comfort zone” and intentionally pursued a few sales jobs such as car sales, telesales, and they were both quite gruelling.

    Needless to say I didn’t last long. Not because I didn’t actually surprise myself in my ability to sell but I found it difficult since I was probably doing what Konrath said “selling TO a prospect”

    The internet has its own nuances but I’m sure many principles are the same, if not requiring more subtlety?? My earlier sites were VERY sales pitchy. But I think I’ve toned it down a bit lol

    Cheers for the salesshebang link…good read

  3. You are right and the idea of being the salesman no matter what is your occupation is really great.

  4. This was a very interesting article which really challenged my perceptions towards various occupations. Really, every occupation has aspects of selling and of course, the more we sell, the more successful we are. Thanks for the good read, keep it up!