“Are you trying to sell me something?”
For a culture that spends so much time and money buying things, you'd think we'd be more excited when someone tries to sell us something.
But we're not.
The semantics are important here. What we really mean is, "are you trying to selfishly persuade me to buy something that will benefit you more than it benefits me?"
We're goal-directed, risk-averse and self-focused. We don't care about the salesperson's commission, of course. We care about our own resources.
The magic happens when the goals are aligned, when the service component of sales kicks in, when long-term satisfaction exceeds short-term urgency.
When someone acts in a way that says, "can I help you buy something?" or, "can I help you achieve your goals?" then we're on our way. And of course, it's the doing, not the saying that matters the most.