Are you considering the right questions when selling to customers?

The question companies tend to ask when trying to target customers is, “How can we get the customer to buy what we’re selling?” That’s the wrong question, though. The question you really should be asking is, “How can we sell what the customer is buying?” Selling your products isn’t just about an exchange of money for goods. It’s about connecting with customers.

Selling What They’re Buying

And to do that, you need to connect with your customers. Find out what it is they’re looking for. What are they trying to do? Then, help them do that, using your products. For example, say you’re selling office supplies. It’s a fairly standard group of products, and plenty of other companies across the nation sell them as well. So why should customers buy from you instead of from, say, Staples?

A lot of companies will play the price card, setting their products apart as the cheapest. This is the wrong approach for a number of reasons. First of all, your competitors can easily lower their own prices, drawing you into a bidding war that puts your prices at rock bottom and minimizes your profits. Second, not everyone is looking for the cheapest products. Many customers are willing to spend the extra money to get something that’s of higher quality, or simply more in line with what they actually want.

So find out what they want. What are your customers’ specific needs with regards to office supplies? What do they want to be able to do? Do they deal with hundred page documents that need special clips to keep them together? Do they need desk lamps that save energy, or that have multiple brightness settings? Connecting with customers will help you understand what it is they need.

And once you know what your customers need, you’re in a better position to provide it to them. Show them what kind of product selection you have and specifically what you can offer them that will meet their needs. Work with them to figure out what products are best suited to their particular situation. Connecting with customers in this way is, ultimately, the best way to set your company apart from your competitors. Anyone can sell a product. But when you actively try to sell what the customer needs to buy, you’re not just selling a product. You’re selling a solution.

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