004 Keep the Buyer’s Interest in Mind


Sales can feel like a battle at times, doesn’t it? If it does feel like a battle, it means you’re doing something wrong. In sales there are two competing forces at work; there’s the self-interest of you the sales person versus the self-interest of the buyer. Now of course, yourself-interest is in making the sale. If you could have your way, you would just make every sale; sale, sale, sale, sale, sale. However, the buyer’s self-interest is to help them, to help get what he wants in a way that uses the fewest resources that are important to him.

That usually is money but it could also be time as well. The feeling of the battle comes from when you are putting yourself-interest versus the self-interest of the buyer, this doesn’t work. The buyer is in control of the sale, he will decide when it is appropriate to buy, and the only way to do so as a sales person, the only way to influence him as a sales person is to position your product or service in a way that meets his needs. If you’re not doing this, then there won’t be a sale, and this is where the feeling of conflict comes from.

Now this is a tough thing to do, as a sales person or as any person to put somebody’s own self-interest ahead of your own. Naturally, we always want to put our own self-interest first. But in sales, probably the number one thing you can learn that will help you, is to put somebody else’s self-interest ahead of your own and help them get what they want and put their needs first. Let me give you example of when I didn’t do this.

I had scheduled a Skype call through someone, through a friend of mine who worked for a company that I thought after talking to her I thought might be a possible fit for a Touchingbase to work with, the service that I run. I had set up the call through her and at the time that the call was scheduled to start, I messaged the guy on Skype and said, “Oh, is now still a good time to talk?” And he said, “Yeah. Sure, but I have another call scheduled in 10 minutes. So I have to be quick.”

So, what are the possible options that I could have done here? Well, one is, I could’ve got angry or try to make him feel guilty about the fact that we had this time scheduled and that he should have kept to it, but that probably wouldn’t have gone over very well. What I did do was just agree to that and say, “Okay. Well, we’ll still have the call and go forward, that’s fine.” When really, I knew it wasn’t fine. Perhaps he did have another call, but perhaps he was just using this as an excuse so that if he would be able to get off the call quickly.

By agreeing with him, I put my own self-interest ahead of him. This was really a test and it’s a test that a lot of sales people get. The test is basically, the buyer is asking, “Is this sales person going to put my needs ahead of their own needs?” And I failed this test. I was only thinking about myself and how I wanted to get my information across and try to make a sale, when really he was communicating that he didn’t have time at the moment to do this.

So what would have been the correct response in this situation? The correct response would have been to say, “Okay. I understand you don’t have time right now. I don’t want to make you feel rushed or stressed, let’s reschedule this call for another time.” This reply works in both situations. If, for example, he was lying and just trying to make up an excuse, this makes him take it back and say, “Oh, okay. This guy is really serious about my needs here and I’m going to have to now reschedule time with him.”

If he was telling the truth then he will probably feel relieved, as he can then take the time to prepare for his next call and not have to worry about rushing through and having the possibility of being late for his next appointment. In both situations, in either situation, you’re demonstrating first off that, “Hey, you are putting the buyer’s needs ahead of your own.” That yes, you wanted to have this call now, but the buyer’s needs take preference and that you’re putting him first. Either way it should leave a good impression in his mind and will help you as the sales process continues.

Sales process isn’t just about the ends-closing of the sale. There are many steps along the way. All these little tests or obstacles that as a sales person you’re being constantly tested to see if you are actually going to live up to what you say. So, remember that if sales feel like a battle or a conflict, it probably means you’re thinking about your own needs rather than those of the buyer.

Use the feedback that your body gives you. If you feel like something is in battle or not going smoothly, take that as an opportunity to reflect and see what you are doing wrong. In most cases, it maybe that you are only thinking about your own needs, and not thinking about the needs of the buyer.

Published by

Matt McCormick

Matt is the host of "7 Minute Sales" - a podcast from the perspective of a developer-founder who is learning to sell and market more effectively. Follow my journey and lessons learned at blog.touchingbase.io. Matt is also the founder of TouchingBase.io - A Better Follow Up System for Gmail.