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How I Talk My Clients Out of Buying My Product


Two weights on a scale, but the smaller weight appears to be heavier, tipping the scale.


“Sellers are just out there to make a quick buck.” “There’s nothing worse than a sleazy salesperson.” 


Of course we know this isn’t true… about most sellers. But how do you prove it to wary buyers who almost expect to be taken advantage of? Even when they know your solution can help them, they might still suspect you’re just there to sell – not help.


That’s why I love it when I have the opportunity to talk a buyer out of buying my solution if it’s not going to help them. Or when I can recommend a less expensive product than they had in mind. This is the essence of the buyer-centric approach.


For example: a prospective customer reaches out to me wanting to learn about a Gap Selling Training program for their team. After going through discovery to understand their business problems (such as low win rates), I then dig deeper to find the root cause of those low win rates. If I find that the root cause is a poor product-market fit, I let them know that a sales training program isn’t going to help them. They need to rethink their product instead. In other words: I talk them out of buying our product because it won’t help.


Other times the Gap Selling Training program is the perfect fit to address root cause issues like poor qualification criteria, inadequate discovery, or lack of a consistent sales process. But if the prospective customer is intent on having the training in person (which is significantly more expensive than a training delivered over Zoom), I might flat-out dissuade them from the in-person training. The virtual training will get them the same outcome at a smaller cost.


For another customer, the extra expense of the in-person training is easily worth it for team-building in addition to sales training. The key is to collaboratively design the best solution for each unique customer.


Two key principles to live by as an ethical seller


(Note! Side-effects may include feeling great about your work, gaining loyal customers for life, and getting quality referrals from people you turned away)


Don’t be an order-taker. Look, I know it’s hard to pump the brakes when a prospective customer comes to you ready to buy. But you still must do your root-cause diagnosis to make sure your solution will actually fix their problems. If you sell them something that doesn’t help them, you end up gaining an irritated customer who leaves bad reviews down the road.


Don’t push the most expensive option when a lesser option will get them their desired results. (But by the same token – don’t recommend the cheaper option for fear of losing the sale if what they really need is the more expensive solution!)


Bottom line: focus on what will get them their desired outcome – not on what you want to sell.

If all sellers lived by these two principles, the sales world would have a much better reputation!


Selling is helping. Sometimes helping means offering a solution that costs far more than they had originally expected but it’s the solution that will get them what they desire. Other times the less expensive option – or a different solution altogether – is what they really need.


You can’t know any of it until you do a deep discovery and root-cause diagnosis. It takes time and dedication to get this right – but the results are well worth it.




"How I Talk My Clients Out of Buying My Product"

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