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by Alice Alessandri

What is the difference between a boring salesperson and a brilliant salesperson? Simple: their ability to talk about YOU! Yes, about you – about what interests you, what is important to you and the things that make a difference to you when you are considering making a purchase. But let’s take one thing at a time…

The products or services we sell have specific characteristics, technical qualities as well as distinctive, specific and demonstrable elements: this shirt is 100% cotton, this car is equipped with ABS, this website is made with HTML5, our company has been on the market for 30 years…

Imagine the classic scenario of the salesperson proudly telling the customer about himself, the company he works for and the product or service he is selling, listing the endless features he has diligently learned by heart. Imagine now the relationship with the customer: she may be initially interested but will become increasingly bored and ultimately lose interest in a show that features the salesperson as the protagonist. This is when the fundamental question takes shape in the customer’s mind:

So? What has all this got to do with me? How can these things you’re telling me, improve my life? Why are you telling me all this?

There exists, therefore, a simple and effective way to avoid boring your customers: just tell them about your products or services and explicitly highlight the benefits that they will derive from a particular feature, of how our service will help them to resolve an issue or satisfy their desires. In short, by saying what the product, and what you, can do for them, more than what the product is and who you are.

This shirt is 100% cotton so it is ideal for sensitive skin; this car is equipped with ABS so if you have to brake suddenly on a wet surface it will hold the road better…


How can you avoid the temptation of ‘showing-off’? Here are some practical tips

  • Listen to the customer – A fundamental prerequisite to using the benefits of a product to best effect is to listen carefully in order to understand your customers’ needs, how they reason and what motivations lead this person to make a purchase. You will only understand your customer if you listen actively and without bias. Never imagine you already know what they are going to say. The salesperson who is focused primarily on herself will try to sell the product based on what she likes about it. Such an approach will only work if you meets a person with identical tastes and needs! Otherwise, you will just be wasting your breath and the customer is likely to say, ‘I’ll think about it!’
  • Explain the Benefits – Many of the salespeople I meet start from the assumption that the customer must know what the benefits of the product are and how its characteristics could be advantageous for them; hence, these salespeople surmise, there is no need to explain them. Not so: other people cannot read your mind so, if you want to be sure that they know something (and in this case, this is exactly what you want because it is the one tool you have at your disposal to arouse their interest and maintain it) you have to tell them explicitly! Customers need to feel they are at the centre of the negotiation, they want to know that you are there for them and wish to help them solve their needs or satisfy their desires.
  • Focus on the other person – Your behaviour enables you to show customers that you are there to look after them, that you have really listened to them, taking note of their priorities and how you can meet them. Frequently, certain details that appear minor to you will be very important to the customer. The aim is to learn to consider your products through the eyes of the customer. For example, you and I may have bought the same car but for two very different reasons: I may have been impressed by its comfort and spaciousness while you appreciated its powerful engine; another person will have chosen this particular car because their friend has the same model, or because it is a prestigious brand. We could continue listing an almost infinite series of varying motivations … It is, therefore, impossible to prepare a selling routine that will suit everyone; every presentation must be as special and unique as the person with whom you are dealing.

Only if there is a real exchange of value and trust between you and your customers can you build an ethical sale and lay the foundations for a lasting relationship.


In Sale as, larger, in Life.

| partem claram semper aspice |

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Alice Alessandri

Consultant and professional trainer, I define myself as an "odd computer scientist": I graduated in Computer Science and immediately opted for the sector of interpersonal communication. In over a decade of experience as an entrepreneur, I laid the foundations for what would become my most important project, Passodue: a consulting and training company that combines profit and ethics, professional success and happiness. Together with Alberto, I help companies to take their second step towards a success based on ethics and sound relationships.

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