By Gene Russell, Manex President & CEO

In this blog, we will discuss one aspect of selling that is frequently misunderstood by everyone including those in sales. While I really enjoy learning techniques in regard to the psychology of selling, including verbal cues, body language, communications (such as objections) – selling is really a listening game.  The overly confident talkative pitch artist is selling only themselves.  Selling is listening very carefully, which may also include a knowledge of psychology, and solving the customer’s problem.

But what about B2B? How was I solving the Target or Wal-Mart problem(s) when I sold them a product, they sold to you and did not use themselves? I solved their revenue, profit per square foot, fill rate, inventory levels, and cash flow problems. That is exactly what a new product that sells well does in a retail B2B world. Retailers are not looking for the next invention, or the next cool thing unless it sells like crazy and you can deliver those things to their company. Why? That is the buyer’s reward system and their way of keeping their job and getting promoted. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pet rock or an amazing tech product.  The problem isn’t really cool, or new, or feature sets. It’s the buyer’s reward system dictated by their industry and company.

Listen. Know your buyer and industry through listening. Deliver what they really need.  Sometimes you need to help them understand what they need. Your product is not your deck. Your job is not to dazzle with a great presentation. Become the go-to salesperson/engineer/owner in your industry through problem solving and integrity.

I have worked in an environment where the entire industry was filled with peacock sales teams that believed they drove the industry, so I suited up in the double-breasted suit and donned the gold bracelet. But – I listened to and solved the buyer’s problems, and I developed a relationship of trust based on experience. Selling is complicated. One little blog cannot cover it all. Things may be popping into your head like “yeah, but what about…?” We are going to talk about it on our blog more than in 2019 based on your needs. We listened. The pandemic destroyed order bookings and pipeline reports in many industries. We will get to your questions.

Michael Levin, one of our long-time consultants and trainers, has put together a short video on the topic.  He adds a great tool for listening. What is it?  Watch…

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