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Alan J. Zell
Selling Ambassador, Businessman & Advisor
Alan J. Zell is an American authority in sales, business success and business management. He has become a national authority from advising business, educational, services & governmental organizations.
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Selling Situations by Alan J. Zell Selling Situations by Alan J. Zell

The word "selling" takes on different meanings to different people at different times. Most people, even those "in sales," seldom agree with the oft used statement, "All selling is the same."

Those selling products, divide themselves first into these categories: I go to the customer or the customer comes to me. Then they divide themselves into classifications of manufacturing, wholesaling/distribution, or retailing. Add to these the sub-divisions, large vs. small products, durable vs. consumable products, etc., and the differences grow, and grow, and grow. And all sellers, no matter what classification they fit into, believe that the others' arenas for selling are always easier.

But not everyone sells products. There are those who sell services. It is said that selling services is the largest and fastest-growing segment of the economy. Services are much more difficult to sell and sellers of services will tell anyone who will listen, because customers can't hold it, drop it, break it, or kiss it. This makes their forms of selling different from and more difficult than other forms of selling. Lastly, there are those who will adamantly state, "I'm not in sales, I'm in __________!" (You may fill in the blank with any industry or job title other than "sales".) To those "not in sales" selling is something others do. I believe they take this attitude so that they will not be caught or accused of being in sales. Unfortunately, it is these people who usually end up making decisions about selling for themselves and their firms.

Is all selling is the same? Yes, because everyone shares the same four Selling Situations -- External, Internal, 3rd-Party and Non-Sales Selling.

External Selling is asking someone outside an entity (individual, department, firm, organization, industry) to accept and adopt what is being offered -- ideas, information, policies, procedures, skills, products or services. It is External Selling that most people associate with the word "selling." External Selling gets its input of what to sell from its Internal Selling.

Internal Selling is the transfer of information about ideas, policies, procedures, skills, products or services between those inside an entity (individual, department, firm, organization, industry). Internal Selling can take place in many levels: for the individual, it is their thought process, for a department, firm, organization, industry it is their converstations, and when that information is passed on by their External Selling it becomes others' Internal Selling. The transfers between levels is called:

3rd-Party Selling, helping others to buy/buy into what one offers by teaching them how to sell what is being offered. If others do not believe they can talk with confidence and intelligence and without the fear of embarrassment, they will not buy/buy into or pass the information on. It is in 3rd-Party Selling that sales are lost!

Non-Sales Selling occurs when those who do not see that they are "in sales" by their negative action or omission cause the customer to reject, return what is being offered or go to another source. They soon find they are "in sales"-- negative sales.

One can be in all four Selling Situations at any one time. They are not really separate but separately they can make or break the sale.


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Alan J. Zell, Ambassador Of Selling
Offers seminars, workshops and consulting on selling and business topics that affect sales.
He can be reached at: (503) 241-1988 or by post at PO Box 69, Portland, OR 97207
Additional articles about selling and business topics that affect sales are on his web site --


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