Gone are the days when you can just sell your service and be done for the day. To get customers, and more importantly keep them, you need to show them that you can add real value to their lives. Sometimes, this means not selling anything at all.

When to sell nothing

Imagine the following scenario: A door-to-door salesman making his way down your street and soon you know it will be your turn to answer the door. It is dinner time, which makes this is an inconvenient time for unexpected visitors, but you decide to be nice about it and listen to what he has to say. After rambling through his sales pitch, he delivers his clincher: His spectacular offer is only valid for one day. This is your one and only chance to own a wonder mop! You don’t need a mop and you let him down easy. He continues to badger you with statements about how good the mop is. You get annoyed, he gets annoyed and nobody wins.

Compare this to the following scenario: You get a phone call from a guy who introduces himself as Steve. He asks if it is a convenient time to talk. You are a bit curious and it happens to be a good time, so you say yes. He tells you about his line of cleaning products, and he asks you if you need anything. They can deliver within an hour. You admit that your fully stocked. He then asks you if you have any issues like clogged drains, water stains or dirty shower walls. You tell him about the stubborn stains in your shower. He offers to send a guy over, free of charge, to clean your shower and demonstrate his products. This sounds like a good deal, so you accept it and agree on a time. The demonstrated products work, and your shower looks as good as new.

I bet the next time you need cleaning products, Steve will pop into your mind.

Always add value

See the difference? The door-to-door salesman couldn’t care less about his potential client’s needs. A good salesman is always interested in what people need and how he can add value. That’s what Steve did right. His focus was on gaining a potential client’s trust, and even if he didn’t make an immediate sale, he gained a client, potentially for life.

It’s not always as straightforward as our scenarios here. You will have to think about your own business and find a way to add value to people’s lives. And don’t hesitate to do it for free. Remember, you need to gain their trust first before they start giving their money to you.