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By Jeff Mandel

How many of you consider yourselves salespeople? It’s funny, because with many people I’ve met it seems to be pretty black or white. Some individuals take great pride in the fact that they are in sales. While others think it’s a job strictly for those who are extremely extroverted with the innate ability to convince people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise choose, and they wouldn’t be caught doing. I, on the other hand, believe that most of us are in sales in one shape or form, especially if you think about the everyday activities we encounter.

If we step back and analyze those individuals who are primarily focused on traditional “sales,” there is an interesting dynamic. Many individuals, but clearly not all, who are in sales focus way too hard on selling versus building relationships.

Don’t misconstrue my comments as criticism because, for some industries, this approach has proven to be highly successful. However, in my opinion, this approach is a recipe for disaster when not only working within the real estate and financial services industries but in your personal lives as well.

Conversely, the best sales professionals I have ever encountered never appear to be selling. Instead, they appear to be genuinely focused on understanding the wants and needs of their potential customer, on building long-term relationships, and taking the appropriate time to gauge whether or not their offering(s) provide the best solution and value for their target customer. These individuals become genuinely liked, trusted, and most importantly, respected by their clients.

Putting too much emphasis on short-term sales at the expense of long-term opportunities is a strategically limiting mindset.

The simple reality is that the best practices I noted above are all of equal importance. Each of them is relevant and beneficial to creating success within our personal and professional lives. The fact is that we are constantly selling-whether or not we like to qualify it as such.

Jeff Mandel is the founder and president of Prism Professional Solutions (Prism).