Most people, when starting a relationship, tend to be all about themselves.
Here is what I do, here is what I think, here is where I go, here is what I like.
The hope, in this case, is to have someone on the other side of the table that finds what we have to offer interesting and that is ready to commit to it. It can happen.
The effectiveness of this approach tends to decrease as the relationship develops. And as we are not really talking about amourous relationships (though some basics are similar), even if we attempt to find more people interested and ready to commit, the self-centered tactic is clunky. Seth Godin explains it well when he compares this situation to owning a key and having to go around looking for the lock (or locks) to open.
Alternatively, we could just sit at the table and listen to what the other has to say. Understand their background, what they do, what they think, where they have been, what they like, and where they are headed. See if there’s a match, and if anything of what we’ve heard made us click, go back and continue working to make it work, until next time. In other words, finding the lock and fashion the key (always Godin).
Traditionally, the first is the way of sales and the second is the way of marketing.
I am not sure nowadays the distinction about the two departments should still be relevant (it is in many organisations, unfortunately), but certainly the difference between having the key or the lock first is fundamental when you think about going to market.
It’s the difference between being one of the many and being the only one.