Servant Selling is the Most Successful Selling: Five Ways it Happens

Repeat and referral business is the lifeblood of enterprise and consumer sales—cost of sale is low for existing customers, and happy customers are your new referrals. The Five Abilities® is a framework for how servant selling works and how servant selling is the most effective selling because it leads to repeat and referral business. Five ways to enact servant selling for both sales and support people.

VISABILITY – Be seen in the right way, at the right time, by the right people

The day you sign the contract is the beginning of the next stage in the sales process. Once you get the initial order, you have access to people who didn’t know you, who didn’t want you, and who are actively selling against you. Adopting the servant selling mindset and delivering great support to everyone, wins over naysayers. People who didn’t want you before, can be led to rethink their perceptions because you do the right things to serve them. Timing is exactly right to help those who didn’t think you could help them before.

CREDABILITY – Show superior knowledge of your offering and the customer’s business

You’re on the inside now—demonstrate your superior service. You have access to people you weren’t talking with before which allows you to be educated about their needs, and to educate them on your offerings. This is an excellent demonstration of servant selling. You serve naysayers; making you better able to advocate for them both inside your company and within their own. Oftentimes political barriers inside a company can be more easily crossed by sales and service people than by employees. Great sales and service people can be an organizational bridge that leads to greater synergies and broader customer satisfaction.

VIABILITY – Ensure that you’re a fit for the customer and the customer is a fit for you

A person or team decided to choose you. Not everyone agrees that you offer value. Once you’re inside servant selling, you can learn who sees clear need for your offering and who doesn’t yet know your value. You serve people who have the necessary expertise to evaluate your work, and through your service, you earn their support that embeds you deeper into the customer’s organization. You are servant selling people who will show you how to succeed in ways that help them succeed. You’ll be shoulder to shoulder with project and program managers who are counting on you to meet critical timelines. You become a viable, valuable, contributor, to those who once thought the opposite.

CAPABILITY – With servant selling, you need to understand and act, on the personal reasons people make business decisions

You have a hall pass—you’re serving people you didn’t get to serve during the sales process. These are people who didn’t have a say in choosing you but will have a say in keeping you. You’ll meet new contacts who are looking for safety—you’ll need to serve their risk-averse tendencies with over-communication. There are simplicity seekers wanting to reduce workloads—people who need more time with their family or just more sleep. Those striving for the reward will be front and center, whether they wanted you or not. Learn what they want and help them, to the extent you can. Some just want recognition for contribution and expertise—you help them get there. Change agents need you to help them kick-off a revolution of innovative improvement.

RELIABILITY – Delivering what the customer bought that isn’t on the invoice

You win and in your first meeting there are people who don’t know you and/or had bad experiences with your company before. You win them back through servant selling. When the unexpected happens, you’ll be unreasonably accountable by stepping up to help your customers adapt. You’ll learn from the stakeholders who didn’t want you there in the first place. Addressing their objections will be your path to turning detractors into supporters.


With any new sale you encounter both supporters and detractors. Delivering great service brings aboard the detractors making them supporters when it’s time for contract renewal and/or new purchases from within their company. They’ll be supporters when they move to a new job or a new company. They’re your best referrals because they know why others may not want you and you’ve served them in ways that mend misperception.

Servant selling is the most successful selling. Deliver great service, mend misperception, and increase sales. More to come in future articles. In the meantime, I’m anxious to hear what you think. Leave me a comment. #servantselling

©2019 Rick Wong – The Five Abilities® LLC


Winning Lifelong Customers with The Five Abilities