SALES

3 Profit-Killing Beliefs

These misconceptions can derail even the most fantastic products. Do yourself a favor and let go of them now.
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Even if you have a fantastic product that your customers truly want and need, you'll drive yourself out of business if you cling to these three outmoded beliefs:

1. Selling is what you do to a customer. If you think of selling as persuading, convincing, or (worst of all) tricking customers into buying, at best you end up with unhappy customers who return stuff they didn't need.

Fix: Think of selling as what you do for a customer. Help the customer make the best decision possible, even if it's buying from a competitor or not buying at all. Customers sense your attitude and (paradoxically) become more likely to buy from you.

2. Customers want more information. Everybody in today's business world is in a constant state of information overload. Asking customers to absorb yet even more makes them frustrated and resentful and therefore less likely to buy.

Fix: Only provide information that's simple and relevant. Research the customer to find out what's important to the customer, then provide--in as few words and images as possible--the subset of information that addresses those issues.

3. The lowest price is a competitive advantage. Numerous studies reveal that when confronted with a range of prices for virtually identical products, customers avoid the lowest-priced option because they assume it's low quality.

Fix: Become the "lowest hassle" vendor. Always present price in the context of how you can help customers save time and money in the pursuit of their own goals. Make your offering the easiest to buy with the lowest cost-of-ownership.

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Last updated: Jan 6, 2014

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James was recently named a "Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Master" by Forbes, and his blog has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Wired, Brandweek, and Men's Health, and he is the author of numerous books, including The Tao of Programming, Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite, and, most recently, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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