CES Episode Notes

Episode 011 – Don't Sell Them What They Want

(Note: This document contains the essential content of this episode but is not a complete verbatim transcript. It may also contain bonus content not included in the episode.)

= = =

In this episode:

01 – Don’t Sell Them What They Want
02 – Wow, I never thought about it…
03 – Don’t Do That
04 – 4 Reasons Why a Bad Website…
05 – Upcoming Episodes

Page 01 - Don't Sell Them What They Want

What if a customer says they want a certain thing, but you know that what they want is not what they need, and therefore if they buy it, they'll probably be unhappy?  What do you do?

You've probably heard the old adage, "Find a need and fill it."  Surely that makes a lot of sense.  Surely that's a good strategy for business success.  But there are a few problems with that idea.

First of all, people don't buy based on need; they buy based on want.  Buying on need would be logical and rational, but most buying decisions are not logical and rational.  They're emotional.  People will buy a particular product or service based on emotion.  They buy something because of how they expect it will make them feel.

But, secondly, even if most people did buy based on need, many people don't know what they actually need; what would be the best solution to a problem, or what would provide the most benefit or improvement.  They often simply do not take the time to do enough research to find out what the best choice for their situation is. 

So it's left to salespeople to convince them that that salesperson's particular solution is the best one.  And I think we all know by now, if we'll admit it, that salespeople play on people's emotions, and try their best to give the customer what they want.  Result: people may or may not end up with the best solution.

So, let's say that you're a provider of a product or service, and that product or service comes in many different shapes, sizes colors and configurations.  If you're talking to a customer, and you're paying attention, it's not hard to discern what they want.  But if you're a professional - if you really "know your stuff" - you might also discern that what this particular customer wants is not the best solution for them; it's not what they need.

In fact, it may even be a case where what they want will make their situation worse.  And when they discover that at some time in the future, they'll probably blame you for it.  In that case, some salespeople will say (or at least will think to themselves), "Hey, it's not my fault; I sold you what you said you wanted."

So what do you do?  Do you sell them what they say they want just because they say they want it?  Or do you try to explain to them why this other option will be better for them.  And what if they resist your suggestions?  How hard do you try to convince them?  

Here are several options:

a) Just sell them what they say they want.  It's a lot easier to do that.  They're happy in the moment because they get exactly what they wanted, and you made a sale, and you're both on your way.  The classic win/win deal.

b) Briefly explain why a different solution might be a better choice, but if they begin to resist, sell them what they say they want.

c) Try really hard to explain why a different solution is a better choice, but if you're not getting anywhere with your arguments, sell them what they say they want.  They might be a little irritated because you didn’t just sell them what they wanted in the first place, but it all turned out OK.

d) Refuse to sell them what they want if you know, based on your professional expertise, that they won't be happy with their choice.


Refusing to sell them what they want has 2 possible outcomes:

1) They'll be mad in the moment, will probably go buy what they want from someone else, and you lost a sale.  But you have preserved your integrity.  Unfortunately, once in a while, it becomes a choice between making a sale and hanging on to your credibility, integrity and professionalism.  

2) If you do succeed in selling them what you know is best for them, they'll probably soon realize that and love you forever.

What I've just described here can obviously take on a million different variations.  And you may or may not have found yourself, as a sales professional, in a situation like this.  

But you might.  

So deciding in advance what philosophy and approach will serve both you and your customer might be a really great idea.

= = =

Page 02 - Business Wisdom

What common thing, idea, practice, procedure or process could you re-frame or re-define in such a way that people would say, "Wow, I never thought about it that way before.”

= = =

Page 03 - Marketing Wisdom

People don’t want to be told what to believe and how to feel, which is what advertising has always tried to do.  

So don’t do that.

= = =

Page 04 - Website Wisdom

4 reasons why a bad website will hurt your business:

1 - If your website is unprofessional, users will assume that your business is unprofessional.

2 - If your website is visually unattractive, users will assume that you really don't care very much about your image.  So why should they care about you?

3 - If the information in your site is disorganized, users will assume that your business is run in a disorganized way.

4 - If information in your site is difficult to find, users will assume that it is difficult to do business with you.

= = =

Page 05 - Upcoming Episodes

Nobody Can Motivate You
The Human Condition
Be Stubborn Today
Outsmarting the Enemy
Your Business Structure


Think for yourself. If you don’t think for yourself, then other people will do your thinking for you, and that’s not a good thing.


Read books. Read blogs. Watch videos. Watch TED Talks. Listen to podcasts. Learn something new every single day. Never stop learning. You cannot foretell when a piece of knowledge will become useful to you.


Create something -- something good -- something that wasn't there before and would never have been there if you hadn't shown up.

Think - Learn - Create

Be Brave - Be Bold 



View this show on YouTube >

This podcast is also available on these platforms:

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts



iHeart Radio

Google Play






Copyright 2019 by Tom Harris