Is your business trying to sell a product or service that the customer doesn’t want? That’s not only a bad sales tactic, it’s a bad business practice. Reputable, trustworthy businesses provide products and services that give real value to their customers – they don’t try to “sell” the customer anything. That doesn’t mean you stop up-selling, or bundling products and services together; an up-sell adds more value to the transaction, as does a bundle. It simply means you don’t force the sale.

Old-school sales tactics are just that – focused on closing the sale. There is a lot of pressure to close more leads, for more money. However, really great salespeople don’t actually sell at all – they lead the prospect to the natural conclusion of making the purchase that best solves the challenge or issue.

One way to ensure you are meeting the prospects’ needs is to limit your proposal to solutions that are important to the prospect. Even though you have four or five offerings you’d like the prospect to purchase, only include the items that address the prospect’s needs.

How do you know what to include? Ask.

One of our favorite sales questions is, “What criteria will you use to make a decision?” Once they answer, ask, “Is there anything else?” You’ll likely hear replies that include price and availability, and if it’s a physical product, you might hear about warranties, shipping, colors, etc. Whatever the prospect says is their criteria for making a decision – those are the points you address in your proposal. If price is important, discuss price. If a warranty is important to the decision-making process, review the warranty or guarantee. But if you don’t hear shipping or colors, don’t bring it up. Focus on what is important to the prospect, not what’s important to you to sell.

You can always up-sell color choices or enhanced shipping after the purchase is made. But don’t spend time in the proposal process addressing items that aren’t important to the prospect. At best, they’ll be uninterested. At worst they’ll think you weren’t listening to their criteria, and you lose the sale and any trust.

Great salespeople ask questions to uncover what is important to the future customer, listen to the responses and then address those needs.