True wisdom is often contradictory at its core and can confuse the ordinary person. This applies to the realm of selling as much as anything. Here are seven paradoxical truths you need to grasp to rise to the next level:

  1. To win more sales, stop selling. When people feel as if they’re being sold, they react negatively and put up barriers. Focus on helping your prospects achieve their business, professional and personal objectives instead of on making a sale.
  2. To speed up your sales cycle, slow down. The more quickly you push for a close, the greater resistance you will encounter. Go one step at a time. When your prospects know you want to help them make the right decision and not push them to make a rash one, the process moves faster.
  3. To make decisions easier, offer fewer options. When you increase the complexity of a decision, you decrease the likelihood of winning the sale. To help your prospects move forward, give them less to choose from. Simplify.
  4. To be more natural, prepare like crazy. Today’s customers suffer no fools. If you’re not ready with the right message, questions or presentation, you’ll stumble or be stilted in your meeting. But if you take the time to prepare, you can be your best and most natural self.
  5. To get bigger contracts, start smaller. When you pursue the “whole shebang,” decisions are more complex and costly, making it much tougher to get approval. Reduce that risk by starting small and proving your capabilities. From there, it’s easy to grow. 
  6. To speed up your learning curve, fail fast. It’s inevitable that you’ll make mistakes. So don’t wait until you’ve figured out the “perfect pitch” before moving forward. In sales, there is no failure, just lots of opportunities for experimentation, learning and growth.
  7. To differentiate your offering, differentiate yourself. That’s the biggest challenge—and quickest route to success—in today’s market. Your products, services and solutions are secondary to your knowledge, expertise and the difference you can make for your customers.

Yes, selling can sometimes be a riddle. But look for the hidden truths, and you’ll be the wiser (and more successful) for it.

Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips:

Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.