Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why can’t this potential customer see the value of what I’m offering?!”  It’s only natural to feel that way. Unfortunately, the hard-to-hear truth is that it’s the business’s job to make sure that its potential customers understand the value and want to buy whatever it’s selling.

I think of this sales challenge – getting potential customers to buy – as having three parts. The first two are closely related: sell the right thing to the right people. If I try to sell corn on the cob to a corn farmer, they will likely laugh and walk away.  If I try to sell corn on the cob to a hungry kid who loves corn and has a few dollars in their pocket, I’ll likely make the sale.  

Selling the right thing to the right people

This sounds very obvious, but whenever I’m struggling to get some traction with the people I’m trying to sell to, I stop and ask myself: am I selling something my audience wants to buy?  Or am I having to educate them on why they should want it?  The second option is an uphill battle.  

Sure, a big company like Apple does it when they release phone features we never knew we wanted, but your typical small business owner should probably do themselves a favor: either sell their existing product/service to a different audience that already sees the value and is hungry for it, or listen to what the audience actually wants and change their product or service accordingly.


The third part is messaging.  Once you’re pretty sure you’re selling the right thing to the right audience, then work on how you talk about your product or service.  

Here’s a big (and slightly unpleasant) hint: it’s not the audience’s fault if they hear your brilliant pitch and still don’t understand the value.  

Your job in selling is to speak in a language that your audience not only understands, but also enjoys and is excited by.  (Or, if you’re selling smoke alarms, perhaps they should feel slightly afraid – and therefore motivated to buy your product that makes them feel safer.)

If you’re convinced that your audience is (and I quote a small business owner) “too stupid” to understand your pitch, then the first thing you need is an attitude adjustment.  No one will buy anything from you if your body language and subliminal cues signal “you stupid person, buy my brilliant product!”   

If the person in front of you is not interested, then: 

  1. They’re not the right audience for your product/service
  2. You’re not selling the right product or service to them
  3. Your communication (words, style, nonverbal cues, or whatever) is not effective.

What to do, if you’re serious about selling?  

Get some honest feedback from someone you trust to give you the hard truth.  Have them watch and listen as you make your pitch to a potential customer, then have them tell you how your communication could be improved. There are sales coaches who specialize in this, if you’d like an objective third party.  

But above all, adjust your attitude: it’s your job to get good at this, not the audience’s job to like your product/service in spite of you.  If you do this, you will become more successful in your business, and hopefully happier too.

At Dunathan Consulting, we believe in straight talk that provides practical knowledge to improve your business. If you think you’d benefit from a little tough love, contact us today to schedule a consultation.