Why customers don’t buy what you’re selling


I love sales. I know how effective and positive ‘sales’ can be when done well. So seeing sales done badly has the same effect on me of fingers down a blackboard! Sets my teeth on edge and makes me cringe.

At a recent business function – you know the type of thing. There’s wine and nibbles and there you are with a glass in one hand and a plate in the other and somehow or other you’re expected to juggle both and ‘informally network’ – which I think means talk to people.

Anyway, there I am, plate and glass difficulties notwithstanding, having an agreeable conversation with another attendee, when a third-party approaches and opens with ‘can I interrupt you’. Without waiting for my assent they then launch into their ‘My name is X and I’m a Y. I do this and I do that and I’m passionate about it.

Two minutes in and I’m glazing over. I can’t remember their name or what they do and I couldn’t care less.

These people mistakenly believed that they were selling themselves or their service to me. But they weren’t. In fact they achieved the exact opposite.

Be honest, if it was a party and not a business event the person who interrupts you mid-conversation with someone to talk about themselves is, and there’s only way to put this, a crashing bore. And we do our best to avoid them don’t we?

The key to making friends at a party is the same as in business. Speaking with people not at them and being a person first before you are a salesperson.

If we want people to buy from us we also need to understand that people don’t buy what we do, or how we do it. And not the how we do it part in particular. They don’t care. If you missed my recent blog about why your customers don’t care about you you can find it here.

We all of us buy a picture of ourselves using something. That picture triggers an emotion. We buy things from an emotional position and then attempt to justify the purchase to ourselves using logic.

Paint a pretty picture

Emotions run deep – deeper than logic. The black and white picture we should paint isn’t all that appealing. So we paint a bigger, bolder, deeper, more vibrant picture to convince ourselves about our purchase. Okay – before I lose myself let me give you an example. Or paint a picture …

Ask yourself what it is that people want from using your service? Because that’s what they are buying. Not your experience, qualifications, mission statement and all the rest of it.

For example: I’m a sales mentor. On the face of it business owners work with me to get more customers. No problem – that’s the big result I deliver. Yet I say ‘on the face of it’ because the reason business owners buy my service has much deeper benefits.

Business owners don’t in fact want more customers. What they really, really want is to make more money.

But there are deeper benefits still to making more money. It’s not about the money itself – it’s what the money does for them. Money gives them:

• Financial freedom
• Independence
• More time with the family
• Holidays in the sun
• A new car
• Not having to worry about paying the bills

In other words: the time of their life.

That’s why I’m in the ‘time of your life’ business.

Sales equal profits. Profit equals freedom. And freedom equals the time of your life.

So, let’s dig a little deeper now. Take a moment to think and write down what all the benefits are to someone buying your service.

It’s only conversation

Once you understand what your customers are actually looking to buy, it becomes much easier for you understand them. Once you understand that and them, the next time you’re at ‘a bit of do’, juggling a drink and a plate of finger food you can allow yourself to simply be a person having a conversation. Done well that conversation means you’re well on the way to making that sale.

Want to know more about the art of (sales) conversation? Get in touch to arrange a chat and we’ll see if I can help.

And if you’re feeling social find me on Instagram and engage with me there.