The one question a buyer will never ask

3 min readMay 4, 2020

“Hey, could you be more salesy?”

Never in my decades in sales has a customer ever asked me that. “Andy, we’d really like to buy your product. But, you’re just not salesy enough. Could you please be more salesy?”

This is the one question a buyer will never ask you.

That’s right. It’s the one question that I guarantee that your prospects and customers will never ask you. Ever.

And, yet, from the way we train and coach sellers you’d think that buyers were asking, if not begging, for more salesy.

Clearly, Sales is immune to the law of Supply and Demand.

Buyers have a high demand for trusted advice and a low demand for salesy. Sellers possess a surplus of salesy and a shortage of trusted advice.

Given that imbalance of demand and supply, you’d be excused for thinking that the supply of salesy should have dried up ages ago in response to a near absence of demand from buyers. And, yet, it persists.

Does your buyer receive any value from stereotypically salesy behavior? Nope.

How is “salesy” of value to your buyer? As a manager, you need to keep this question in mind as you hire, train and coach sellers. Those mythical heroic sales attributes (hunter, extrovert, closer, etc.) still to be found in your job postings for open sales positions and training materials?

In their buying process, buyers are trying to quickly gather the information they need to make a good purchase decision with the least investment of time and money. How does your being “salesy” help them buyers achieve this objective? As a seller, you need to think about this question as you visualize how you want to be perceived by your buyers.

Sell the way your customers want to buy. Be the seller your buyers need to accomplish their objectives.

So, perhaps there’s hope that the glut of salesy will begin to subside as sellers slowly trickle back into their sales floors after this COVID-induced WFH period.

Perhaps sellers have had enough authentic human conversations with their buyers during this time that maybe, just maybe, they’ve learned that being salesy inhibits making real, human connections with buyers.

Here’s four simple human sales habits to help you avoid the curse of being salesy:

Ask. Don’t Tell.

Stop pitching. Why make a statement of fact, when you can convert it into a question that helps deepen your discovery and understanding?

Understand. Don’t Assume.

One of the biggest sources of value you can provide to your buyer is to truly understand the problem they’re trying to solve. Don’t guess. Don’t assume. Understand.

Solve. Don’t Sell.

Sellers are problem solvers. Which can’t be the case if you connect with your buyer in the belief that there is only one solution to their problem (your product.)

Confirm. Don’t Presume.

Just because you think you delivered value to your buyer, doesn’t mean that you did. Just like beauty, value is in the eye of the beholder. The correlation between your perception of value and that of the buyer is tenuous at best. Always confirm that you met the buyer’s objective for your interaction with them.

B2B Target Buyer Persona Template ebook download

About the Author

Andy PaulringDNA

Bestselling author of Amp Up your Sales and Zero Time Selling, Andy Paul is #8 on LinkedIn’s list of the Top 50 Global Sales Experts to follow. With more than 170,000 followers, Andy is a highly sought-after speaker and sales sage who interviews the world’s foremost sales minds and extraordinarily interesting people to bring you strategies and insights that you can use to generate epic wins and massive value.