Harry Browne was a very successful businessman and a best-selling author (1970’s). He also ran for U.S. President twice, once in 1996 and once in 2000. In the late 1960’s he wrote the Secret of Selling Anything—a very helpful book on how to be a successful salesman.
What is the #1 task of a salesman, according to Harry Browne? It is to find out what motivates the customer and help him get it. You must serve the customer. Don’t be pushy and try to sell them what they don’t want. Ask questions, be interested and find out what your customer needs. Then you can sell him something he’ll benefit from—it’ll be a win-win deal.
For example. You’re a salesman at a car dealership. A man enters. You start rambling off on the new cars, great features and pay little attention to the man’s comments. The man politely says, “Thanks. I’ll think about it.” He walks out and there is no sale. That man’s not coming back.
On the other hand, if, when the man comes in, you ask him what he’s looking for in a car, his concerns, etc…he’ll be more inclined to at least listen to you because you’re interested in him—not selling for yourself, but in helping him find something that can improve his life.
Once you’ve found out what the customer wants then you can dwell upon the advantages of the product that are relevant to this customer’s needs. If he’s interested in safety in a car, don’t tell him about the great radio system.
The #1 task of a successful salesman is to find out what the customer wants and help him get it.