The Paradox Of Peak Performance In Selling
by Bill Cole

   Do you view prospects and customers as the enemy? As an obstacle to surmount in battle? To defeat and to conquer? Or do you see your clients and customers as friends? As people you can help? As partners?
   In his book, The Tao Of Sales, Dr. E. Thomas Behr provides a rich, comprehensive selling paradigm, arguing against the adversarial-based sales metaphors that create battle plans to attack customers like they1re a military objective. Instead, he suggests we create a genuine values-based partnership with customers.
   The Tao Of Sales is created from the 81 verses of Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching, the Book of the Way, the ancient, timeless, Chinese treatise on the art of wise living that implores us to strive for balance and a serene and generous spirit. The Tao is the basic principle of the universe.
   Behr suggests we strive for long-term relationships built on trust, not quick-hit sales based on the bottom line. Clients should be allies--not opponents. High pressure selling creates more resistance than sales. It also alienates people. The Tao way of selling is doing things with customers, instead of to them, or even for them.

Four Master Mental Skills Of The Tao Of Sales

   The Tao teaches many mind skills and philosophies, and does so by taking a salesperson1s personal qualities and telling illustrative, pertinent stories resulting in practical applications to selling. Perhaps the major Tao mind skills are these:

  • Awareness: Observe and notice everything. Have no assumptions and see all with fresh eyes.
  • Stay Centered: Be calm, quiet, still and peaceful even in the midst of chaos around you.
  • Non-Resistance: Surrender and yield, to bend, rather than break, with the stresses of the world.
  • Selflessness: Serve others first and you will receive more than you imagined.
The Essence Of The Tao Of Sales

   Using mystical, purposely-confusing, paradoxical stories, poems and phrases, the Tao selling approach makes you re-think your relationships with customers. The Tao of Sales can be difficult to grasp, but once understood, is well worth the time. Here are some examples of its simplicity, nuances and seeming contradictions that instruct and make you think deeply about selling:

To Gain Powerless Power In Selling:
  • Create in order to release.
  • Lead without commanding.
  • To be stronger, give away your power.
  • Have fewer rules to gain more control.
Doing By Non-Doing In Selling:
  • To go faster, go slower.
  • To do more, do less.
  • Pay attention to what you are not doing.
  • Empty yourself to be fuller.
Leading By Following In Selling:
  • To be stronger, be more vulnerable.
  • Control less and evolve more.
  • Stop managing and stay centered.
  • Don't just do something, stand there.
Organization by Surrendering In Selling:
  • To handle change and stress, stop managing it.
  • To deal with danger, stop fighting it.
  • To control fear and anxiety, step out of its way.
Other Major Tao Selling Mindsets

   These qualities further highlight the philosophical dichotomies between the old school, aggressive style of selling and the softer, more respectful Tao of Selling.

  • Chasing Prospects vs. Being Chased.
  • Promotion vs. Attraction.
  • Trying Harder vs. Trying Softer.
  • Making It Happen vs. Letting It Happen.
  • Manipulating vs. Relating.
  • Forcing vs. Building Rapport.
  • Pushing vs. Persistence.
  • Selling vs. Helping.

   You may want to read other Taoist books by various authors. Study your deepest personal values, be aware of your selling relationships, and may the Tao wisdom of the selling universe always be with you.