You've likely heard selling referred to as an art. In many ways, it can be. But you may wonder, why is selling important to master?

No matter what you do, whether you are a product designer, an executive, an entrepreneur, or a preacher, if you develop the ability to sell your idea, your vision, your strategy, your product or service, or your company, the sky is the limit.

And more than merely selling, ultimately, mastery of selling comes when you develop the ability to be of service while selling.

What does it mean to be of service? It means that you authentically listen for people's concerns (whether in the foreground or the background) and align on resolving it (if possible) within the context of your work/offering.

That's an important distinction I realized in a recent conversation with John O'Leary -- a national best-selling author, inspirational speaker, and podcast host -- on my podcast, Unmessable. He doesn't go to conferences to say inspiring things. He goes with the intention to serve, to be of service. Even I left my conversation with him feeling like I could run through a wall. That's selling on steroids. 

So how do you replicate that level of effectiveness for yourself and for your business? Here's a place to start.

Dwell in the question: How can I be of service?

Some will say that sales is about encountering a lot of nos in search of yeses, but you can refuse to accommodate this mindset, and instead switch up the game. Rather than pitching customers with the motive of landing their business, instead challenge yourself to solve their problems or concerns. 

Actively and genuinely trying to help them find the answer to their problems, with or without your services, will go a long way in how you are perceived and whether or not your potential client trusts you enough to do business with you. 

Helping potential customers solve their problem is rewarding, and if you can help them solve it with your products or services, that's even better. This shift in mindset, of serving as you sell, can be monumental in terms of how you approach your job, and can even have a ripple effect on your overall quality of life. 

Come from a place of alignment (not separation). 

Before doing your pitch and getting on the selling journey, listen for what matters most for your constituents. Get in their shoes. Listen to the words they use, the emotions they have, the state of mind they are in, so you fully capture where they are. Being empathetic as you sell will go a long way in earning trust. 

Approach the situation at hand as though you are on the same team rather than opposite sides of the table. Tearing down these walls allows for a greater chance of solving the problem as a team, and planting that seed can make all the difference. From there, you can see what will best serve your prospect.

Long-term game versus short-term win. 

Being of service to your prospect means that for a moment, you forget about the sale. Instead of selling customers on some thing, your focus is on serving them. Or another way to look at this is to aim on having your time together be valuable for them, regardless of the outcome of the interaction.

People typically pick up on these things. Whether someone is eagerly focused on making the sale or truly serving them, and it makes a huge difference on whether customers come back to you or not over time. While you need to be two-minded about sales and make sure you hit your sales goals in the short term, you must also keep your eye on the long-term play by building trust and truly serving your clients. 

Selling is about making connections for not just now, but also for the future. Establishing a good rapport with others, even if it doesn't ultimately lead to a sale in the moment, can always open doors later down the line. 

While no one wants to feel like their time was wasted, embracing the long-term game mindset and focusing your energy on serving versus selling it will elevate your performance substantially as you build up that soft skill.