Be a “Buyer’s Assistant”

“When we do not expect anything we can be ourselves. That is our way, to live fully in each moment of time.”

Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki, in the book, not always so

As Mr. Bettger writes, a terrific way to think about the process of selling is to imagine yourself as an assistant to the buyer. Imagine that you’re on the payroll of your prospect’s company, and your job title is “Buyer’s Assistant.” It’s your job to understand your company’s needs, and then try to understand how the person you’re talking to can help your company. If you can put yourself in your prospect’s shoes like this, selling becomes easy.


As a consultant, I never considered my technical skills to be my strongest suit. I like to think I’m very good, but I also know I’m not the best technical person in the world.

I always thought my superpower was empathy. In many cases I felt like I cared more for my client’s problems than they cared about themselves. While some of them worked 9-to-5, Monday through Friday, I felt consumed by their problem, and often worked sixty hours or more per week until the project was done.

When you have empathy like this during the sales process, you become a Buyer’s Assistant, and when you really immerse yourself in this role, you’ll feel extremely confident in your recommendations, and your customers will be amazed that you’ve thought so deeply about their situation.

Show your interest

A typical sales presentation for me goes something like this: “Mr. Customer, I’ve done some research on your company, and I see you sell X, Y, and Z. From what I can see, X seems to be your leading product, is that right? I’m sure I don’t understand your situation completely, but assuming that I’m close, I have some initial ideas I’d like to run past you. Would you be interested in hearing them?”

Of course what I actually say varies tremendously according to the client’s business, but that’s a fairly typical introduction. I’ve shown that I know who the prospect is, I’ve done my research, I have an interest in their business, and I might be a problem solver. When you first meet a prospect, it’s hard to do much better than that.

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