All you have is what you can sell!

Jody N Holland
4 min readJun 14, 2024


A graphic of sticky notes that says find a problem and solve it.

“The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell. And the funny thing is, you’re a salesman, and you don’t know that.”
Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

When I first went into business, I had no hesitation about presenting my services to every potential customer I came across. I wanted to be good in business and knew that sales was a part of that equation. At first, I didn’t know that selling could be a real beating when done the wrong way. For the first month, I did it the wrong way. I also got rejected a lot. Once I started evaluating my sales methodology, I realized I was pushing a service on others instead of really focusing on what they might want and need in their business. This seems so fundamental when I think about it now, but it was very different when the thought first popped into my head. This shift in thinking was moving from being a “pitch-man” to being a problem-solver. And that was huge!

When I focused on what issues the prospect might have and what they would benefit from resolving, I became their strategic partner instead of the person trying to get money from them. In my first book, My Judo Life, I tell the story of a man being laid off from his job who still shows up to an appointment with a prospect. He didn’t want to be rude and no-show. When he gets there and the person asks him what he is selling, he replies, “I have nothing to sell. I don’t know what you need.” This was the basis of my new thought pattern on what we should shift towards as salespeople. The book's main character proceeds to ask questions of the prospect and even asks to begin mapping out what they are talking about on a whiteboard. He just needed to feel he was doing something worthwhile and helpful, so he worked to map out a solution for the person instead of working toward closing a deal.

By the end of the conversation, the prospect asked if he could deliver on what he had just mapped out. He wanted to hire him as a consultant to help his people and to solve the people problems they were facing. The main character was in business by accident. So, he developed a proposal based on their discussion, mapped out what it would take to get the client's desired results, and went to work. This is what sales is supposed to be. It is one person helping another person achieve a desired outcome. It isn’t about taking anything from another person. Instead, it is about exchanging value for value. The purchaser will always feel they got an incredible deal in a perfect world. They will feel the salesperson is there to help them find the solution that eliminates their problem. This process has value. The solution has value.

When we look at the business we are in, we should be able to see how we solve an important problem. Ideally, we should be better at solving the problem than anyone around us. We should also be focused on how we serve others in the process of solving the problem. This is what makes the entire process a valued human interaction. When I look at the services I provide, I know without any doubt that they are valuable to my clients. I track the ROI they get by going all in with me. I know that people problems they face are both irritating and costly. And I know that helping minimize and/or eliminate those problems makes my clients more money. The question we have to ask ourselves, if we know we are providing more value than we are charging for, is… “Why would we keep that from a potential customer?”

By truly asking why we would keep great value from a person, we begin to understand our doubts about pursuing success. It is seldom the prospect that is the issue. Generally, we, the ones seeking to sell, are the issue. The issue goes away when we shift to the ones seeking to serve. In serving others, we ensure we never recommend a product that does not provide the right outcomes desired by the client. With our focus on serving others and solving their important problems, we become one of their most valued assets. That is the place we want to be. We want to be seen as the “go-to” person to accomplish an outcome needed and wanted by the client.

Far too many people are in business to push products and services. This is not sales. This is manipulation. And far too few people are in the business of seeking to exchange value for value, ensuring their clients consistently feel they have won. When we are in the business of serving, the product or service is always secondary. My question to you is the same one I ask myself regularly… “What business are we in?” Be in the business of serving others and solving important problems. Be in the business of multiplying the value exchange equation so the client is more successful, more fulfilled, and more of what they want to be. Finally, embrace the value you can provide to your prospects and know that it would be wrong to keep them from experiencing the success and problem resolution you are uniquely positioned to provide.

To Your Success!

Jody N Holland, M.S. Psychology



Jody N Holland

Family, Focus, and Future… I love to write, speak, train, and coach on leadership and personal growth. Author of 23 books and keynote speaker 350+ times.