By Gene Russell, Manex President & CEO

It is true. Who does not love the rush of buying something new or new to them?  This aspect of sales knowledge is one of my top five favorites and most useful learnings. People do not want to be sold. For the past two decades, I have deployed this tool to team up with a client and let them make the decision to buy. Guide them, help them — but let them experience the human joy of buying. Being sold has all kinds of psychological and societal baggage. The outcome of using a buying vs. selling model is always a happier and more engaged client customer. They are as proud of their decision as you are of creating a customer and new revenue for your company. Skills (such as the psychology of selling, prospecting, closing and the negative reverse) still apply and can easily be repurposed into this role. Perhaps you find this a bit disruptive to your approach. Keep working on it and discover new ways to sell. Bring joy with your contracts.

Let your customer buy. Encourage them to be the decision-maker and enjoy buying your product and service as much as they enjoy shopping for their favorite consumer products on their own. Give them the research, the data, the proof, as well as the emotional energy and content on your cool factor, your experience, product design and service design.

This approach can also be framed as participant selling if your business and the client’s business model permits it. Selling a major retailer, a finished product in the packaging you designed is high risk. Getting early feedback on sketch designs, feature set and packaging allows the buyer to help create your win, and psychologically ties them to your product. I have sold millions of units using this strategy with the largest retail accounts in the world. Selling this way to smaller retailers and e-commerce does not work, as they cannot buy enough quantity to justify their ideas, and you risk turning them off. This is equally true in industrial products. Trusting your design intellectual property (IP) is often an emotional intelligence (or EQ) decision on your part because the larger client has enough leverage to not sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

Our long-time leadership and sales trainer Michael Levin talks about his personal shift in “stopping selling,” a related approach to our blog today.

Closing More Business by Not Selling from Michael Levin on Vimeo.

About the Author

Gene Russell is President and CEO of Manex and has over 30 years of senior executive strategic planning, operational management, and consulting experience in the manufacturing and technology sectors. With his extensive knowledge of manufacturing operations, he has developed and implemented key strategic initiatives for companies, allowing them to improve performance and achieve profitable growth. He can be reached at