What Customers Want to Know


Continuing to educate yourself on sales methods and strategies is vital to the growth of your business. You can attend workshops and seminars, you can read books, and listen to podcasts. I’ve done that throughout the last decades, trying to learn, trying to become better. I found out a long time ago if I get better, my business gets better. If I learn more, I earn more.

As it relates to sales, though, I think so many times we try to confuse it. We get into all of the different technologies of sales, or some new, revolutionary idea. But really, people are just interested in two things, although they may describe it in a hundred different ways. People want to know how much it costs and what it will do for me?

What will it do for me? You can show somebody where a hundred other people have been interested in this product or some celebrities have been interested in this product or service. And sure, that gives some credibility to it, but unless that prospect, or unless that customer, or that client sees what’s in it for them, they’re not going to be interested. So when you are presenting, imagine a sign across that customer’s head that says: what’s in it for me?  Are you talking about what is in it for them? What are they going to get out of it? What benefits they are going to gain?

How much does it cost? This is something that is very, very important, because cost is critical. But here is the point you need to convey – there is a cost if you do and there is a cost if you don’t. There is a cost of making a buying decision, and there is a cost of not making a buying decision. People will make positive buying decisions when the cost of not doing it is greater than the cost of doing it.

Let’s use a simple example, like fire insurance. Why would you have fire insurance? If I were to ask the question, “how many of you have had your house burn down this past year?” hopefully, very few of you say you had. When I ask that question at workshops and seminars around the country, very rarely somebody will raise their hand and say, “yes, my house burned to the ground.” With the odds so low, why then, would we do such a foolish, wasteful thing, as pay hundreds or thousands of dollars every year for fire insurance when we know the odds are that that is not going to happen to us?

A good year in fact, is when you have wasted every single dollar of that insurance. You don’t get to the end of the two or three years and say to your spouse, “Honey, it’s been three years and we’ve been paying $500 or a $1,000 a year… we have got to have a fire!” You don’t do that. But why would you do such a wasteful thing when a good year is wasting every penny?

You do this because the potential cost of not doing it is so great that that is unacceptable. We may not like that we’re paying that premium but it’s an acceptable cost. Potential loss is so great that the cost of not doing it appears to us to be greater than the cost of doing it.

It happens with insurance, and it happens with a lot of different things that we buy. What’s the cost?  Let’s say you sell office machines or copy machines. What is the cost of owning this machine? Sure, there’s the cost of owning the machine, but what if you can show somebody that their average cost per copy would be lower with this machine?  Isn’t that more likely to influence someone to make a positive buying decision?

So, to put it in context for you, what does your product or service do? Where will that save your customer money? Where will it decrease their costs and where will it be a better value in the long run? If you show your customer what is in it for them and educate them that there is a cost if you do and a cost if you don’t, you will be on track for long term sales success.

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Nick Serba

Nick Serba has enjoyed a successful career spanning 30 years in Sales, Sales Training, Sales Leadership Training, and Sales Management. Some of his experiences include working as a General Manager with New York Life, operating numerous entrepreneurial businesses, and, for the last 20 years, serving as a Regional Vice President for LegalShield.