Ok, I have no doubt that subject like just got your attention.
You are most likely thinking one of the following:
- Great, not a religious message, I’m here to learn marketing, not about my “sins”.
- Oh no, he’s going to use God to teach us how to sell and get rich? Heresy!
- Yes, Prosperity gospel! God promised us blessings, Amen!
Ok, first off, this isn’t going to be about how you sin or how you can get rich.
But I’m going to show you how Jesus taught us the foundational principles of how to sell.
And I say this not to make little of the actual message of Jesus Christ. Rather that we can all learn from His examples, regardless of your relationship with Him. I don’t care what you believe, I’m not here to push mine. Rather I’m here to share knowledge on how to sell that comes from the sources that I receive them from.
OK, so I’m going to get to my point, but first, we must read scripture so you know where I’m coming from.
So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”
Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”
Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
Ok, so you probably read that and you might be wondering again, how does any of this teach me how to sell? Allow me to elaborate.
Are you capable of asking for help?
This is a huge problem for most people, and I confess, for myself as well. I mean you worked hard and even though many discouraged you, you build your business with your own two hands with little help. You’re a problem solver. People come to you to solve their problems, you don’t think it’s proper to ask your customers for help. It’s supposed to be the other way around. But here is Jesus Christ, God on earth about to share his message for the world to hear, and he asks this woman who by all standards of the world is a nobody, for a drink of water. He asked if she would serve Him.
Asking people for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that you understand that the people you want to serve have something of value that you don’t have. When we position ourselves as someone who needs nothing from no one, we come across as arrogant. When you ask for help, you become humble while elevating their status, which changes their whole attitude in the moment. Did Jesus really need anything from this lady? Not a thing. But He started by letting her know she had something of value to offer Him.
Understand the problems people have behind their problems
We all have surface problems. The problems we are willing to share with people. But behind that is often the real problem. The problem we’re embarrassed to share.
A customer’s car is broken down and needs fixed. As a mechanic, that seems like the problem you need to focus on. But the real problem is that the customer is panicking. She got things to get done and do them because she can’t get around. She’s also worried about the cost. It’s Christmas time, She’s stretched financially and can’t afford the repairs. She’s embarrassed about the whole situation. These are her problems behind the problem you see on the surface.
To this Samaritan woman, the surface problem was that of racial concern. According to the times and narrative, she is not worthy to serve a Jew. Of course, being who Jesus was He didn’t tolerate such things. He led the conversation into a deeper place of understanding her and the problems behind the problems. He knew her real shame was not that a Jew was asking her for water. He was able to have a more intimate conversation with her and then show her that he had a solution for her. Had Jesus just laid out the solution before explaining to her he understood her problem clearly, she more than likely just ignored Him and walked away.
We can see this over and over when people push their services on people. They tell them they need their services, and the people respond with “How do you know I need your services when you don’t even know my problems?”
Don’t overcomplicate what you do
I work with a lot of complicated clients. From mechanics to data analysis companies and AI software developers. Trying to get these guys to explain the problem they solve in 1 sentence is nearly impossible. But in order to sell what they do to their clients, they have to really dumb down their message to something the customer understands.
Jesus could have brought out a huge scroll, laid out the history of sin, explained its damaging effects on the world, showed how it would impact the future, and so on. Instead, He went right to the concept she understood, water. The language she spoke was “water” so He explained what He had to offer to the world was like water.
Too many business owners speak to their customers in the language they know, not what the customer knows. That’s where they lose the sale. You have to learn and understand their “language” and then speak to them in ways they understand.
As with the car repair example above. If you start speaking about all the technicalities of the repairs and the knowledge needed to fix them, you’ll lose her. But when you speak using language on how you help her with her affordable vehicle ownership goals, now you’re speaking her language.
Explain how you’re going to make your client’s life easier
Life is messy and complicated. We have enough going on. And as humans, we always seem to mess things up. We all want someone who can just make out life easier and clean up after ourselves.
Jesus tells the lady at the well that He’s going to fix things. It’s far too complicated, legalistic and not accessible to everyone. Jesus is here to do away with the old way and make it so easy that everyone will have the opportunity to receive Him. No amount of money works, or status will have an advantage to His kingdom. You make the decision, He already paid the price.
Your customers want you to make doing business with you so easy, all they need to do is decide to accept you as their service provider.
This was a hard article to write. When I got the idea to write it I had a lot of reservations. There are a lot of prosperity preachers out there preaching a false Gospel and I want to stay far away from that. But I also wanted to show how Jesus Christ teaches us so much about life and even business. Jesus wants to be in all areas of our lives. Yes, first and foremost He is our Lord and Savior. But when you study the Bible you can see how it all applies to our life from the biggest issues to the smallest details. What I wrote above is applicable to all areas of life because it shows us how to interact in relationships. Our relationships with our family, spouses, children, customers, etc. will all be stronger and more profitable to us if we follow Jesus’ example.
- Ask for help when you need it, ask if you can help when you are able
- Come from a place of trying to understand rather than being understood
- Stop over-complicating the simple things
- Try and make people’s lives around you simpler and less complicated