Stop Selling and Start Solving


I read an article recently that right behind the fear of public speaking and heights, but before spiders, needles, and snakes is the fear of SALES PEOPLE! Yes, you heard that correctly. The average salesperson has gotten so bad and so annoying that people have actually become AFRAID of you.

WHY, you ask? If I had a dollar for every sales person I’ve interviewed who answered my “why do you want to be in sales?” question with, “I’ve just always been a people person” I’d be writing this article on my yacht. You see, the overwhelming majority of the people who want to be in sales have the entirely wrong idea of what it means to be a good salesman. It’s not about giving elevator pitches, persuasive presentations, and the ability to “always be closing.” But, because too many people watched Boiler Room growing up, we’re stuck with an army of hungry savages running around attempting to sway anyone in their path to shake their hand and “put er there — let’s do a deal.” Sales people, this pushy/pitchy means of peddling your product or service is the sole reason that 67% of you miss quota and people are more afraid of you than they are of drowning.


But, there is good news — you still have hope! Matter of fact, as much as the above description of a sales person frustrates me, I actually love it. I love that if you can find a way to be drastically different you can beat out every single person you compete with. Here is how you do it.


The one and only reason that we ever purchase anything in our lives is to solve some kind of problem. You buy food to solve your hunger problem. You buy cars to solve your transportation (or ego for some) problem. You buy Girl Scout Cookies to solve your humanitarian (or Thin Mint) problem. You see, a purchase is merely a means to an end of a desired fulfillment, or fix. Knowing this, why do so many take the approach of showing up and just vomiting features, ROIs, and benefits of their product all over the conference room table? The reason is simple. Memorizing features and benefits from a sales manual is EASY, and people love taking the easy route.

The best, the rare, and the most successful sales people run far away from easy street. They understand the fact that, as mentioned, people purchase things to solve a problem. Therefore, they reverse engineer their approach by first understanding and caring about the actual problems that their potential customer needs a solution for. This only happens through genuine relationship, conversation, and listening. The more you listen the more you will learn about what problem actually exists. Once you know the problem the entire world is at your fingertips. But wait… Selling is still not in the game plan! This is when you SOLVE and the magic happens. Sometimes (and hopefully) the product or service you have in your briefcase is the one that can solve their problem and you can win (make a sale).

But, what if it’s not? What if the problem you uncovered is real, but the solution you happen to have doesn’t actually fix their problem? This is where the top 1% win. The best of the best hold back from pretending like they can solve the problem just to make a sale. Instead, they SOLVE again. They connect dots. If you are an expert at the craft that you sell you should know every single subset of that industry. This allows you to connect your customers with other people and companies who can actually solve their problem. It’s not always about the sale today. I promise you that a customer who you walk away from today to connect him somewhere else to solve his actual problem will come back to you in the future tenfold.

You don’t have to be the brightest, the most educated, or the most talented to gain an edge in this game. The person who’s willing to throw away what he/she thinks sales is supposed to be and adapt what it actually is will win. Next time you have the urge to “give a pitch” stop and think, open your ears, and start solving problems.

Written by Josh Mastel — Founder, CEO of UpRoar Partners

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