No doubt you are well and truly familiar with the term 'up selling' but what is 'down selling' and why on earth would you want to do it? Well, it is part of being a great sales person and only the great ones can really do it but in reality, we all should be prepared to down sell when it's the right thing to do.

At some stage in your sales career you will encounter someone who wants to buy way too much of whatever you are selling or who wants to buy something which is wrong for them. You know it is too much or that it won't work, and you will have to make a split-second decision--do you tell them the truth or do you let them make the purchase?

Of course the right thing to do is to tell them and give them your advice; in other words, to down sell. If they still want to make the purchase, at least you will have done the right thing, but if they realize that you are right and that you have saved them from making a big mistake, they'll be your fans for life.

Ethical sales people last a long time in their industry and they enjoy great success. Think about how you would handle this situation if you haven't encountered it yet. If you have already experienced it, what did you do? Never be afraid to down sell to a customer in order to build a long-term relationship.

From my experience, down selling always pays off. The customer appreciates your honesty and the word of mouth endorsement that you receive more than compensates for any short term loss of business.

We live in a world that is struggling with ethics and trust these days. So many larger corporations have completely lost the trust of their customers by doing the wrong thing. Something has to change. Being prepared to "down sell" is a great place to start. It's really just about being honest with our customers and as far as I'm concerned it's the only way to be.

Think back on a time when you know you should have talked someone out of a sale but you didn't. How did it make you feel? Did you ever see the customer again? Was the short term gain really worth it?

Master the "down sell" and your reputation will go through the roof and rightly so.