What Are You Really Selling?

“Pragmatic Sales Psychology” short episode series, writing #5” 

“People don’t buy a thing, they buy what a thing does for them.” I’ve been saying this for years and went online to see who I learned it from and couldn’t find it quoted by anyone of note. Since I couldn’t find where anyone of note was credited with the quote, I (not being of note) have claimed it… and am happy to own it. Why? Because more sales psychology needs to be pragmatic in nature.  Native American author Will Rodgers put it this way,”Common sense ain’t common.” 

I submit that what the sales profession needs more of are sales-managers and training protocols, who and which depart usable wisdom to the everyday sales pro. Many sales books have been written with some idealistic philosophies and unattainable protocols that the common everyday business owner cannot depart to, or make usable by, their common everyday sales representative.

For those who believe that knowledge alone is power, I think they’re missing a critical fact. Knowledge is how much you know, wisdom is how it is applied. There is no way to know how many sales pros have launched into a knowledge based diatribe, imposing a large dose of the product knowledge to a buyer who is bored to tears, whether they let it show or not. When a prospect/customer isn’t the analytical type (a small percentage legitimately are) then selling the benefits is way more effective and useful to the buyer than a seminar about working parts. Unfortunately, many organizations view product knowledge and sales training as one and the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. Serving a prospect properly is not about making them a specialist, unless they ask you to. It is, more often than not, about making them comfortable with the decision they are about to make. How comfortable with their decision typically has much more to do with how it affects their life, their amount of trust in you, the brand, and the company who they expect to stand behind the product or service they want.   

Let’s pretend you are the one shopping for goods or services. Here are some statements to consider:

You don’t buy an airplane ticket, you buy the destination it provides. 

You do not buy a billiards table, you buy the relaxation and good times that will surround it. 

You do not buy an instrument, you buy what making music means to your life.

You do not buy a hammer, you buy what it can build or tear up for you.

You do not buy your first house, you buy the dreams it makes come true.

Put yourself in the shoes of the one doing the shopping and concentrate on listening hard enough to determine what is important to them. THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE REALLY SELLING. 

Happy Selling,


Jack Klinefelter
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