Sales Strategies That Work: Why Before What

If you couldn’t sell what you are selling now, what other product would you choose to sell?

For me, it’s a no-brainer: I would sell mattresses.

I would sell mattresses, and I would clean up. I would convert 90 percent of the visitors to my mattress store into happy buyers. I would be unstoppable.

Yes, I am well aware of the hubris of that last statement. Please understand that I am basing my seemingly arrogant claim on actual observations.

Consider the typical opening dialogue in a mattress store sales experience:

Salesperson: “Can I help you?”

Customer: “We just want to look around.”

Salesperson: “Absolutely. Feel free to lie down as you are looking. I’ll be right here. And we have a sale going on.”

Customer: “Thank you.”

Let me just break that conversation down with a little color commentary.

“Can I help you?”

Really? What a stupid question. How would the customer even know how to answer that? You’re a salesperson. If you can’t help, leave.

“We just want to look around.”

Huh? What? I don’t think so.

Let me ask you a question. When was the last time you drove through a strip mall parking lot, noticed a mattress store, and said, “Look honey, a mattress store. We don’t need a mattress, but let’s check out the latest and greatest”?

Sorry, not going to happen. Let’s all agree on this: When you darken the doorway of a mattress store, you are there to buy, not to “just look around.”

“Feel free to lie down and we have a sale going on.”

Rough translation: You figure it out and ignore the prices — they’re fake.

A Slightly Better Approach

I wasn’t going for shock value when I said I would kick butt in mattress sales. I am supremely confident about how I would approach selling mattresses. I have a clear-cut strategy in mind, and it has nothing to do with mattresses — at least not at first.

I have observed a common sales error in this environment and countless others. Far too many salespeople are consumed with the “what” of the sale. I am all about the “why.”

Think for a moment about why people buy a mattress.

  • Bad back
  • New, larger home
  • Child graduating out of a crib
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Bed bugs
  • Pet stains

The “why” determines the “what.” I don’t need to know where you are moving to until I understand where you coming from.

Once I understand the “why,” I can provide the “what.” Working to learn the “why” from customers rolls the sale out in front of you!

Evaluate your own sales approach from this vantage point. Don’t worry about the “what.”

Aim to get to the “why” as soon as possible, and you’ll increase your chances of changing someone’s world.


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About the Author: Jeff Shore

Jeff Shore is the Founder and President of Shore Consulting, Inc. a company specializing in field-tested and proven consumer psychology-based sales training programs.

Jeff is a top-selling author, host of the popular sales podcast, The Buyer’s Mind, and an award-winning keynote speaker. He holds the prestigious Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association and is a member of the NSA’s exclusive Million Dollar Speaker’s Group.

With over 30 years of real-world, frontline experience, Jeff’s advanced sales strategies spring from extensive research into the psychology of buying and selling. He teaches salespeople how to climb inside the mind of their customers to sell the way their buyers want to buy. Using these modern, game-changing techniques, Jeff Shore’s clients generated over $30 billion in sales last year.