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The First Law of Sales

Today my friend Chris wrote this piece on his blog. Some guys like the ones in this video ripped off my uncle. He didn’t have any real money, yet he was robbed and preyed upon by this new breed of confidence men. What criminals like these are doing has nothing to do with real sales or marketing, regardless of how much money they make. It’s the same old snake oil and charlatanism that’s been around for Centuries. But this time, it’s digital snake oil peddled by digital charlatans.

A few days ago, The New York Times posted this opinion piece on Capitalism. The piece came out a few days after Chase suffered a black eye for some complex financial trading gone wrong and to the tune of Billions of dollars. But trading derivatives of derivatives of sketchy financial deals isn’t real market Capitalism. Especially when people who had nothing to do with the transactions pay for the mistakes of those who do nothing more than speculate. There is no real value being created or traded here.

The first rule of sales is that you create value for someone else. The only reason it is okay for you as a salesperson to capture part of the value that you create is that you created value in the first place. This is why market Capitalism works. It’s why selling works. You do the value creating first.

If you have no real intention of creating value for someone else, if what you are doing is only to make you money, then you aren’t selling. You are stealing.

Selling is meaningful work (as is marketing). It’s meaningful work because it allows you to make a difference in the lives and businesses of other people. It’s meaningful because you can create a better outcome for others. It’s meaningful because it gives you the opportunity to create value. And there is nothing wrong with capturing part of the value that you helped to create.

There is everything wrong with trying to capture value without creating value for other people, especially if you lead them to believe that you are going to create value for them. It’s stealing. It’s wrong. And you will never be proud of having done so.

The first law of sales is to create value for other people. If you get this part right, the rest of it is much easier. And much more meaningful.

Questions

Why must you first create value if you are to deserve to capture value?

What makes selling meaningful work?

Do you know people that try to sell only so they can make money, with now intention of really helping someone else produce an outcome?


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Comments

comments

  • http://www.adamlehman.us/ AdamLehman

    This may be my favorite post of yours. 

    With my first year of sales under my belt, I often find myself hesitant because I’m afraid of being seen as the charlatan. I’ve seen that I’ll sink back for that reason. Instead of seeing myself as a value creator and being confident in the value I’m bringing to the table. 

    You clearly painted this picture. Nice work! 

    • http://www.thesalesblog.com S. Anthony Iannarino

      If you are a value creator, Adam, (and I know you are), then march bravely forward and help your dream client! 

      The thing about charlatans is that they know they don’t create any value and sell anyway. 

  • Zach Doty

    I agree with Adam, this is my favorite post of yours so far.

    Have you read The Go-Giver or Givers-Gain? Two great sales books that go hand-in-hand with what you’re saying :)

    • Zach Doty

      Wow, right after I commented mentioning The Go Giver I subscribed to your podcast and you’re interviewing Bob Burg author of the Go Giver. Thats awesome! I had to pause the interview to update my comment here :)

    • http://www.thesalesblog.com S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Zach!