Anyone can take money from a customer, of course some stores are even replacing people with automated machines for this task, but very few businesses are good at making a specific recommendation to a customer, taking a more passive approach to driving revenue.

We used to be good at making recommendations, it was "sales 101" but somewhere along the line many businesses have simply become places that collect money as opposed to selling with any real intelligence or consideration for the needs and wants of the customer.

If you have a business where the staff are really good at making recommendations based on what your customers need, you will have a very successful business on your hands.

Many years ago I used to own a dive shop where I sold SCUBA and snorkeling equipment. I was eighteen when I purchased the business and I had no idea what I was doing. All of the equipment I stocked and the way I sold it was a reflection of the methods of the crazy Canadian whom I bought the business from. His philosophy, and therefore mine, was to have as much stock as possible and sell it as cheaply as possible.

When customers came into the shop I would go to great lengths to show them the hundred plus face masks, twenty sets of fins, fifty wet suits, piles of regulators and associate gear. They generally left about an hour later with a dazed look on their face. I figured I wasn't giving them enough information so I would virtually hold customers hostage to make sure I gave them every piece of information about every mask, snorkel, wet suit or set of fins ever made. Still nothing worked and my business ended up in big trouble.

Luckily I had a good friend who was a very experienced sales person. He would walk into my shop at any time and sell four out of five people a full set of gear in a matter of minutes and he only ever sold the top of the line equipment. Observing my frustration, he let me in on a few of his secrets. Firstly he told me I had way too much stock and by association too much stuff to choose from. Secondly I was too focused on price, but my customers were not. Last but not least, I didn't make any recommendations, I simply gave them all of the options left them trying to figure out what was best for them.

So we emptied the shop and only put three full sets of equipment on display. A bottom of the line cheap crappy set, a middle of the road set and then a top of the line set. Interestingly my friend asked me what gear I used - and of course I only ever used the top of the line gear, because it was the best. When a potential customer came into the shop, we started our five minute presentation with the cheaper equipment and worked up to the most expensive equipment and finished by saying "this is the equipment I use because it is the best."

You guessed it, from that day on I never sold a cheap or middle of the road set of equipment ever again, and the amount of gear I sold was phenomenal.

One of the greatest sales faults is not making a recommendation. Customers are bombarded with choice and it is totally overwhelming. Most of us simply want someone to say, 'this is the best product for you". We all need to be able to make a recommendation that is based on the needs of the customer, regardless of what business we are in.

Now I am not saying you need to be a slick sales person, you have to make a recommendation that is fitting for your customer.  The better you meet your customers needs, the happier they will be and the more you will sell.

Now that has to be good for business. Become a business that makes recommendations and you will never look back.