Giving Your Customer What He Wants

Ask questions to inform, steer and advise your customer.

Ask questions to inform, steer and advise your customer. Q. Sometimes customers don’t really know what they want. How do I help them figure that out? A. You have a truck full of tools and catalogs with thousands more SKUs. But you’ll find that the most powerful tools you have are questions. Asking good questions can uncover tons of hidden...

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Give him literature or email him websites for the popular brands/models you carry. Let the manufacturers sell their features and benefits. You focus on closing the deal.

Don’t say these are brands that you like or recommend, just brands you carry.

3.) ADVISE. When it comes down to a final decision between two or three products, now your expertise comes into play. This is how you can help your customer without making a personal recommendation. Try one of these magic phrases:

“That’s one of my best sellers.”

“A lot of guys tell me they like that one.”

“This one is an award winner.”

(Go to for PTEN’s 2011 Innovation Award and the PTEN 2011 Top 100 Award winners, to find some different product examples.)

Notice you’re not putting your neck on the line with these phrases. Most people find comfort in numbers. They believe “If others think this is a good, it must be good.” (That’s not always the case. But people like to have a reason to trust a product. Give them a reason.)

If you can’t honestly use one of these phrases, don’t. In this case, maybe the best approach is to use another customer as a reference: “Joe down at Smith’s Autoworks bought that one. He says he loves it.” (Again, assuming that’s true.)

This way, if your customer becomes unhappy with his purchase, he’ll use Joe’s name in vain -- not yours. (Sorry, Joe!) Seriously though, if your customer does need some support, Joe can become a valuable resource. (Thanks, Joe!)

By informing, steering and advising, you can help customers buy with more confidence. And you won’t feel pressure to pretend to be an expert on every one of the thousands of tools you sell.

Phil Sasso is president of Sasso Marketing Inc. (, a technical marketing agency specializing in tools and equipment. Subscribe to his free marketing tips at

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