Let's face it. Deep down, sales are usually fairly selfish. You are selling your products or services to bring in revenue and profit. Sales drive your business.

Hopefully the transaction is mutually beneficial and the customer is getting something of value in the exchange. If not it might just be a one night stand.

When you are looking at your longer-term partnerships with either suppliers, competitors or customers it is very wise to start the conversation by looking at things from their perspective. I recently read a post by Stuart Crawford on giving back to your partners that got me to thinking about this subject in a partnership situation.

Big companies like Microsoft offer formal partner programs. Why?

They are not doing it for the good of mankind. They are doing it because Microsoft does a lot of business through its partner network. They realize they have to "give to receive". What?

Microsoft gets it. Now reverse it, "What are you giving to receive?"

If the answer is nothing, you should reconsider. Partnerships are two way transactions and must benefit both parties for there to be a desire to continue. Partners want their partners to succeed when there is a benefit in it for them.

To succeed in business and especially sales, it really helps if you can see things clearly from another's perspective.

Let's look at a specific example. A few years ago we submitted one of our software products for an Impact award with Microsoft. Now our tool was pretty slick and had been deployed to a lot of employees. But when we reviewed the winning solution there was an important ingredient missing from our submission. We did not really address the "impact" on Microsoft. I am not saying our solution deserved to win over the other one, what I am saying is just maybe, Microsoft would be looking at the impact on Microsoft as part of the winning criteria.

Once you fully understand what drives your customers, suppliers and partners… only then can you create truly winning situations where you can get what you want as well. And when they are successful in their goals, they will only be too happy to have you succeed in yours. That is how commerce has worked for centuries.

Abandon "me", it's all about "you".