Let us start with a question that most people fail to answer the first time they hear it (i did too):

What is the difference between selling and servicing?

We see in this way:

Selling Servicing
Pro-active Reactive
The lead has no need or does not see / realize it The lead has an expressed need
The lead is cautious The lead is open to communication
The lead has a lot of objections The lead has few or no objections as there is a problem to solve
Usually start with “No”, “Not interested”, “Not sure” Never starts with “No”, “Not interested”, “Not sure” since the leads has an expressed need he is trying to solve and publisher reacts to it


As you can see – the goal of the sales process is to change the perception / the viewpoint of the person who has no intention to buy. When the person wants to buy the only thing the sales rep can do is to help him.


Now, we understand that the margins are narrow here and a good sales reps can manage the process in such a way that there will be little chance for the lead to present objections.


We present this distinction in such a crude way to emphasise a theoretical point that has great practical results. There is a lot of companies, especially in B2B space that thrive on inbound leads – people who come to them with a need or interest that should be converted into a deal.


Why we raise this issue and focus on its importance? There are several outcomes:


Easy framework

So any sales organization that adopts such or similar approach to distinguishing sales and service can create an easy to follow framework for the sales reps:


Sales process is a communication between a sales rep and a potential customer. The key goal of the sales rep is to ask potential customer such questions, that he (potential customer) explains to himself why he needs product or service by answering those questions.


This simple tool for sales is fundamentally different from complex processes and procedures, that usually set service or presentation standards, and do not facilitate the sales process.


C-Level support

And only if the CEO / CRO or stakeholder responsible for sales understands this concept and sees the difference sales teams can adopt other practices we will speak about:

  • “Getting Yes”,
  • “Decision Maker”
  • “Time+Money”


Picking up the right tools

Now, if the sales team has unified process they usually fail either in sales or service because they apply the same approach to different cases. And you can easily identify  it yourself just by measuring the results of the sales team – if they are good with inbound or outbound leads. So, just by applying different practices to selling and serving leads companies can get substantial improvements in sales results.


Taking the responsibility

We addressed the issue of sales reps not taking the responsibility for results before (link). Now, we can add that if they do not understand and practice different approaches with selling and servicing – they do not have the tools to take the responsibility despite their best intentions.



So, do you agree such a difference exists? And would you change your processes to account for difference between selling and servicing? How?


If you enjoyed this article, I would really appreciate if you can share it, recommend it, or let me know in the comments!

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