A fundamental question in selling is not why people sell, but why people buy.

People buy for their own reasons—not for the seller's. In fact, their motivation to buy may have very little to do with the reasons sellers think they should buy. When it comes down to it, people buy something to meet their needs or resolve the problems they are facing. According to Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling, people decide to buy when "the pain of the problem and desire for a solution have been built to the point where they are greater than the cost of the solution."

A good sales professional can help customers come to that realization. But it doesn't happen as easily as you might think. Despite the fact that most people learn the basics of conducting needs analysis, customizing solutions, and linking benefits to pain in their Sales 101 class, when they are out in the real world they forget to bring these classroom lessons to life, and somehow their competence, composure, and confidence evaporates. Faced with self-induced, pressure-filled selling situations, they confuse telling with selling.

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