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Stop selling - start helping


Do you know why some of your new, potential customers never seem to be able to decide?

You think you have given the customers the best price and the best terms and yet the client will never make the decision you require. You will continue to talk to them and the customer will let you keep talking – but suddenly they slip through your fingers.

And it's all your fault. Or is it? Read on ...

The story of why my son still has an old computer on his desk

Here's a story about my eleven year old son's computer. It's an old Dell that I used to keep at my office. You can surf the web and play simple games with, but it can't keep up with the new, online games that he wants to play. In addition, the computer sometimes breaks down (I think it's just because it wants to mess with me).

The Journey
Me and Felix has visited all the major electronics super stores during three weekends without being able to make a wise buying decision. The important thing to know is that I usually make decisions quickly when it comes to everything else, but in this particular case I have told myself to really understand what it is we're buying and why we should buy that particular computer. For once, I want to know exactly what I have bought!

And there's the problem. No one manages to explain to me why I should buy from them and what I get by buying from them.

The Sellers
They ask;”What do you want the computer for?” and that's a good question, but when there is a price difference of 200 dollars on a video card called 1113 compared to a card that's called 1112 and I don't understand why, I give up. I get tired and don't want to be there anymore. So, I tell the seller that I don't understand what the difference is. The seller is a little embarrassed, he looks at me and answers something like;”Well, you know, you get what you pay for”. But what am I paying for? That's what I want to know. I would gladly buy the 1113 graphics cards if it's really better. It has nothing to do with money. It's about making a decision that is well founded and that will make me feel a little bit more clever for making that particular choice. That's something every customer wants to experience from time to time.

The Solution
In this case, it would almost be better if the seller said something about his brother's son, who is eleven and delighted with this expensive card. I would pick up the package and immediately run for the checkout. All the seller had to do was share, not just babble about incomprehensible facts. To act like a friend who tells me that it's not worth spending 200 on the 1113graphics card because it's not really worth the money and simply help me to make a smart decision. Had he succeed, I would most certainly have returned next time I need to buy an electronic gadget. It's when I see someone who helps rather than is just thinks about his commission that I want to start buying stuff. What if they could understand how simple it really is! They would get so many ridiculously loyal customers that they would not even believe it.

So honestly now ...
* Do you make sure that your customers really understand what they are getting if they give you their money, compared to what they get from others?
* Do you make sure that they are informed about other things than numbers, facts and statistics?
* Do you make sure that they are adequately informed?
* Do you humanize your selling situation? This often means that you're pretending that you're selling to your best friend. If you do, you will never cheat or be unfriendly.

The Conclusion:
Selling is actually ultimately the same thing as saying the things the customers want to hear -  not as a lie - but to make a human effort rather than a technical one. Selling the old way simply doesn't work anymore. Never forget that. Stop selling and start helping. If you do, you will also sell much, much more - at least to me!



About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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