The Zen of Sales by Todd Schnick

Todd Schnick

Zen emphasizes experiential wisdom in the attainment of enlightenment. It de-emphasizes theoretical knowledge in favor of direct self-realization through meditation and practice [wikipedia].

Our purpose in sales is to seek enlightenment, to fully understand how we can serve our customer and prospect…not by the singular implementation of a generic message script and one-size-fits-all sales process, but in being mindful that every interaction is unique…and requires us to be in the moment and focused on each individual opportunity.

To understand the Zen of sales, I suggest the following:

To be mindful of the environment around us, and how it impacts both parties. The environment around us is always changing, and this impacts attitudes and feelings, which have direct impact on sales. Being aware, and allowing for, environmental impacts can be the difference.

Technology is both a friend and foe. CRM systems can be helpful, but not all customers and not all situations fit nicely into someone else’s system. Each individual is different, and requires customized actions. Forcing customers and prospects into technology that doesn’t suit them is not a good thing.

The goal should be engaging with people…learning, teaching, explaining, helping, and of course, listening. If you are telling…one-way, you are not enlightening…either yourself or your customer.

You need to have a service mentality. If you are all about the sale, the commission, the win, the numbers…you might win short-term, but you are not going to in the long-term. In the end, it is really about being mindful of helping and serving your customer. Including long after the sale is made.

Learning never stops. As a provider, the world is ever-changing. You need to adopt a habit of always learning, adapting, and improving. This keeps you sharp. In addition, your customer is ever-changing too. And you need to continue to observe, listen, and seek to understand how the environment and needs of your customer are always in flux.

As much as you wish you could control the timing, you cannot. So let that go. That practice alone can change your attitude about sales. Things will happen when they are supposed to happen, when your customer is ready for them to happen. You will learn though, the more helpful and patient you are, the faster things unfold.

Having and displaying confidence is very powerful. Being enlightened, in your own ability to help, care, serve – shines through, trust me.

Sales requires patience. We cannot always know how best to serve the customer with one conversation, or be so arrogant as to believe we can help in every case. No, we must be patient, to slowly and carefully learn how best to mindfully craft a meaningful solution. This will not be easy, but will be worth it in the end. This is the difference between a partner, and a salesman.

Remember, the people on the other side are human beings. And human beings aren’t parts of a machine, they are people who are dealing with real life, in real time (however fast or slow) and interaction with them has to be in the moment, not checked-off a call or To-Do list.

You need to acquire influence, without seeking to be influential. Achieving sales enlightenment, building a reputation as someone who seeks to build relationships based on service, will enable you to become very influential. Things happen very differently once you achieve this level. [just remember, you do not decide when you have reached this level]

Sales doesn’t have to be process defined by crazed end-of-month deadlines, building the biggest list, making the most phone calls or knocking on as many doors as possible. In fact, it should be the opposite.

Sales should be a mindful process, careful, slow and purposeful: Seeking enlightenment, or rather, seeking to learn all you can about the customer in front of you, knowing and learning how you can be their best partner and advocate.

And understanding that this process never stops…

What do you think?


Todd Schnick is a writer, speaker, marketing strategist, and radio-show host and producer.  You can find him at his website and sign up for his content marketing class at