It’s Not Selling…


Many shop owners I speak with confide in me that they are often uncomfortable “selling” products and services to customers. Their view on selling is that they are trying to convince someone to purchase something. Successful sales people have a different view on what they do. They don’t believe they are trying to convince customers to do something. Instead they believe their job is to serve the customer by helping them solve a need they have. They know that when you turn your focus on serving the customer instead of serving the needs of the company or your own goals, it is much easier to enjoy and excel at your job.

One of the necessary ingredients of a happy work life is the belief that you are doing something worthwhile. Without worthwhile work, it is very difficult for people to find long term satisfaction. It is also very difficult to build relationships with customers unless you understand your value to them.

If you have employees who struggle with “selling”, they are probably focused on the wrong objective. You can help them find the true value of their job by showing them how to focus on serving the needs of their customers instead of themselves or the company.

Running a service orientated company goes way beyond just providing good customer service. The truly great companies understand that a service attitude is way more effective than service policy.


  1. Ken: While it is obvious to “old salts” like you and me, it takes newer framers a while before they figure out that they are, primarily, problem solvers. We don’t talk about “upselling” to our clients, loading them up with items they don’t understand. However, if you take the time to explain to the client the benefits of, say, anti-reflective glass or a wider mat border, you can usually bring them around to your way of thinking when it comes to framing design and they are, then, willing to invest in better quality, higher-value materials. We have a saying here too: “Show a fillet, sell a fillet.” You cannot sell what you do not show and explain. And while, in the broader sense, it is selling, we are really trying to get the client to see how it will enhance the design of what they are framing. I remember the old Syms clothing store chain commercials, where Sy Symms would say, ” An educated consumer is our best customer.” By educated, I presume he meant that his sales staff had taken the time to explain the value proposition of their store to their clients, that this was a step up from a lot of mass market retailers. Thanks for all you do!

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