Lesson 10 – The Principle of Service

‘The Secret of Selling Anything’ is a book written by Harry Browne on salesmanship. The secret is that you have to sell the right way.

There are a few methods he sets out in his book … firstly, the main course of action, with 5 steps.

1. Ask him about his motivation. (A customer’s motivation is the key element of selling. You cannot sell anyone something they themselves don’t want. If they don’t know if they want it, they won’t buy it. You can’t make someone want something, but you can show them how your product can get them something they want. For example, no one WANTS to buy a vacuum cleaner. Who would? But most people want clean floors, or easy cleaning, or no bending over, or a quieter hum. So if you can appeal to your customer’s motivation, maybe you can make a sale.)

2. After you’ve learned all about him, his problems, the things he likes doing … organize his thoughts and ask him to verify your summary. “You want a quiet way to clean your floors while your wife is sleeping, and you don’t want to bend down to sweep, is that right?”

3. Now you can give him a solution. “Why don’t you get a quiet, long handled vacuum cleaner?”

4. At this point he will have questions, maybe even objections. Brown gives a tip for staying connected to your client while dealing with objections to your product. If your man says “I don’t know if this vacuum cleaner will be too hard to clean. Its surface is rather bumpy.” You should listen carefully – then agree with him, saying “That’s a valid statement …” – and then you should suggest a way to keep it clean. Or tell him you have a smoother model available. This way to handle objections keeps you customer feeling validated.

5. Close the sale. Don’t do this by tricking him into agreeing to buy. You simply will not be able to do this. Ask him straightforwardly, something like, “Should I go ahead and write up your order now, then?”

The way Brown’s methods differ from the regular course of action is that normally a salesman is coached to be aggressive, fearless, and even pushy in order to get the client to do what the salesman wants him to do. But you don’t have to be super antagonistic – you only have to listen, be knowledgeable about your product so you can tell him about the things that interest HIM, and to care about his satisfaction. It’s harder to sell when the person across the table wants to throttle you.

You can sell anything this way – but you have to sell it to the right people. If your product won’t help him, then tell him and thank him for his time – you might even refer someone else’s product! Your integrity might get you in the door next time.

The whole market revolves around consumer sovereignty – the customer chooses what to spend their money on. Therefore it is the producer’s responsibility to serve the consumer – but not only that, to work with the consumer.


P.S. Don’t worry, I’m don’t have this weird obsession with vacuum cleaners. Its just my example! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s