Customers Only Care About Themselves

When you think about it, no one really cares what you sell. Instead, prospective buyers only care about how your product or service can solve their problem or immediate challenge.

This can be tricky for retailers, because those buyers’ challenges can stem from a number of concerns—most that have nothing to do with price.

I am amazed by the number of salespeople who simply go on and on during the sales process, vomiting up product literature quotes and running through long lists of product features. They’re like a recording that exhaustingly continues, without regard for what really keeps the customer’s interest.

Remember this rule: don’t sell what you want to sell; sell what the customer wants to own.


When working with customers, first ask a series of questions to determine what raises the prospect’s eyebrows. Multiple people may want to own a certain product, but each one may have completely different reasons for their interest.

Does the buyer of a performance sports car really care about the size and technical specs of the engine… or is it the feeling that comes from acceleration as he or she stomps the pedal to the floor?

Another customer might not care about that same rate of acceleration, but instead is seeking the feeling that comes from pulling up to a stoplight as others admire the sleek design of the automobile.

And yes, yet another prospect might be into those mechanical details and care more about the technical data than anything else.

The point is, everyone wants to save money and get the best products and service. But that’s not always what motivates them to buy.

Everyone is different, so you need to find out what they really want if you want to make them happy.


Here is a great exercise that I use before selling any product.

Imagine yourself as the potential buyer of the product or service. You’re sitting on the couch in front of your television when you see a product that grabs your attention.

What feelings and emotions go through your mind as you think about this product? (Hint: it’s probably not the electrostatic powder-coated paint, turbochargers, warranty, finance terms, display board, heart rate control, or the number of muscle-soothing, pulsating jets it has.)

Instead, it is all about the way you feel at the moment of interest, and how much better that product or service will make you feel once you own it.

People are always emotional before they are logical. Purchases are made emotionally and then justified with logic.

I recommend taking a few minutes to write down at least 12 different emotional reasons that a prospect would want to own your product or service. Reviewing this list will then better prepare you for answering the true needs of the customer while appealing to the emotional side of the sales process.

Jhan R. Dolphin

Jhan R. Dolphin is president of J Robert Marketing, a full-service agency specializing in unique and innovative marketing programs for the automotive, outdoor/adventure, and sports & fitness industries. He regularly speaks to industry groups about business related topics. He can be reached at dolphin@jrobertmarketing.com

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