Telling isn’t selling – Tips on making sure you close that sale!

Often I find myself walking in to a store with the view to buy a product but when I ask the sales rep about the item they simply start telling me about the features without selling them to me. I already know what the features are and that’s one of the reasons why I’m buying the product but  the other reason is for the benefits that the features offer me. What I want to hear from the sales person is how the features will enrich and add value to my life. Over the years I’ve honed my sales skills on the approach that value is more important than price and if you can’t sell on this basis you need to take a look a second look at how you are pitching your product or service . Here are some tips that I routinely use when selling, if you are not already using at least two of these I suggest giving them a try and monitoring your results

Ask Questions and listen

Before pitching your products and services ask the right questions, what product are they after, why are they after that product, have they looked at other options, what is most important to them whether that be support, reliability and so on. You need to have an in depth understanding of what they are after before you can present and don’t talk money until you have presented your value proposition.  It’s very important to listen and show signs that they have your undivided attention, this could be via a simple nod or if you’re on the phone say “I understand” or summarise and recap as you go, this shows to your buyer that you understand their requirements and it helps build better rapport before you move in to talking products.

Educate and create value

I like to approach sales as a twostep process, based on my probing questions I firstly educate the buyer on the abilities, features , options and limitations of the product they are looking at and secondly I explain how these features will benefit them.  People don’t buy based on a ‘product’ they buy based on the benefit they will receive as well as the value the product provides them. An example of this is a laptop computer, it comes with all the bells and whistles like your desktop PC but the laptop allows you to be mobile, this is the benefit of buying the laptop over the desktop.   It sounds simple but a lot of sales forget about the benefits and focus on the features, don’t be one of them!

If you can’t offer it offer something else

Apples can be oranges. Just because you don’t have the product a buyer is looking for don’t send them away simply offer them an alternative. I hear too many sales people saying “I can’t” or “we don’t”, each time you do this you hammer another nail in your sales coffin.  Instead offer alternatives and choose your wording carefully, rather than saying “I don’t have X but we have Y which may work” say “With regards to X I can offer you Y and while understand that it’s not exactly what you’re after let me briefly touch on some of the benefits that I believe will be of interest to you”. If you can structure your sentences correctly you will never have to use the words “cant, wont or don’t”.

Leverage your knowledge

Demonstrate that you have an in depth understanding of your products or services and you will instil confidence in your buyer.  Remember they are buying from you so you are the expert.

Be honest and get help

There is nothing wrong with getting back to someone if you don’t know the answer. I regularly enlist the help of our technical staff when working on deals. Our technical staff can provide a clearer picture of our technical abilities while I can sell the benefits of our solutions to our customers.


Insert decoys

For those who don’t know a decoy is it’s a product or service that has been included in to a deal as a “nice to have” item but not necessary or critical. Let your buyer remove these items and while you haven’t lost anything the buyer has of course managed to save some money.

Close on a Win/Win

When closing always make sure that you have ironed out all of the key points and that both parties have a clear understanding of the others priorities, these may be things like delivery date, a certain level of testing or quality. Always be prepared to give a little when you’re closing however make sure that if you do you also get something in return. Closing should be an organic and natural process, if closing a deal isn’t like this then be honest and let the buyer know that you think you should revisit some points, clarity from the start creates happier customers down the track.




  • David Sloane

    Nice article mate. many many years ago I used to work in retail and I had a very good record of closing sales. For the past 13 years I have been developing web sites for customers and my clients all love me for the amount of information I give them about current web trends and what they should be doing to keep up with them.

    This article has just made me realise that by giving them the information freely I have been doing myself a disservice. I need to be giving them the information to sell them MY services not just handing it out freely.

    Thanks again mate, good article.

  • Anon

    In my experience the ask question and listen part is the most important. I’ve been out of sales for many years now but coming up to a job interview, I realise I’m going to have to sell myself and my skills and use the same techniques which I have used in the past to get the job.

    Great article.