What do I actually sell?

What do I actually sell

The subject today is: What do I actually sell?

Surely some will say: my products or my service, etc. However, it is not that easy.

Let’s take an imaginary product called Problem Solver XY.

Our seller, Fred, sells three Problem Solvers XY per day. These are 15 pieces per week (Fred is lazy and does only work 5 days a week). These are 60 sales per month. On average, Fred receives a commission of Euros 200 per sale. His earnings are therefore an average of Euros 12 000.

His friend, Lukas, wants to join this business. He runs off and spreads the word of his product, the Problem Solver XY. Fred has taught him everything about the Problem Solver XY. Lukas knows all the advantages, all prices and has already received a catalog of objection handling and deal closing techniques from Fred.

Unfortunately, Lukas has a hard time. He sold only one Problem Solver  XY during the first week working 10 hours a day. At the meeting with Fred, Lukas tells him that it probably does not work for him and he wants to quit. Fred makes a proposal to accompany Lukas to his tour.

After the first 3 messed up sales, Fred takes Lukas aside and apologizes to him. He had failed to teach Lukas the basic rules of selling:

What am I actually selling?

Here you can find a chronology of when I sell what:

  1. During the first 30 seconds, I sell myself!
  2. After that, I sell harmony and trust for 2 minutes.
  3. And at last, I sell the personal benefit for the customer.

This does not look very spectacular, but these 3 points are very complex.


Let’s look at just the first 30 seconds of the sales talk.

Luke stands in front of the customer. What does the customer perceive?

The strongest sense of most people is “seeing”, followed by the sense of hearing.

Finally, the customer must also process the message.

The customer is now perceiving Lukas as follows:

  • 55% Body and appearance
  • 38% Voice
  •   7% Content.


By the way, this does not only apply to sellers! The first 30 seconds also apply to everyday life, e.g. if you want to get to know a new person or present yourself for a job.

Let’s start with the first aspect.

Body and appearance. Do you know the saying, “Clothes make the man”? Certainly you do. In my opinion, the saying is not correct, it should be as follows:

Clothes confirm prejudices. Let’s be honest, we really do not have an idea about the kind of person behind the clothes.

However, we have a drawer system in our mind that wants to help us to assess the “stranger”.

Imagine, you go to the butcher and behind the counter, there is a man wearing trousers, jacket, shirt and tie. While he cuts some meat with his cleaver, he looks at you and asks for your order.

This would feel weird, right? It is indeed, as our head imagines some kind of a banker, insurance man or manager or the like in these clothes. This also applies the other way around.

Let´s get back to Lukas, who now looks and asks himself, if his torn designer jeans are really the most suitable. On a closer consideration, he notes that he should also trim his mustache and so on.

If Lukas wants to be popular with his customers, he needs to work on his appearance.

Clean, tidy, appropriate!

Yes, appropriate! The butcher of my example, for example, was not dressed “appropriately” at all. Moreover, you should also think about what is appropriate for your company and your products.

One can also exaggerate. Overdressed is just as bad, if not worse.

Clothes are not the only thing. The posture is very important. Do not stand curved in front of the customers, like a drowned rat. Stand upright, keep your hands open (by no means in the pocket) and keep eye contact. This does not mean that you should stare at your customers, as the conversation would be over quickly.

After your customer has now perceived you, he/she will listen to you. And as I said, the voice is 38% of the perception.

Just think about yourself. A man stands in front of you and speaks in such a speed that you do not comprehend anything. How do you feel? Overrun, don´t you!

Or, which is just as bad, your opposite mumbles. It is so incomprehensible that you do not understand him at all. Would you enjoy listening to this man for half an hour while he mumbles?

So, speak clearly and enunciate, take your time when speaking, but do not fall asleep either. An advice is to practice your speech with friends or record it.

This way, you can listen to yourself and will know how you perform on others during the presentation.

And, smile, not grin, just a friendly smile. Smile and your voice will sound even more enticing.

Try it.

So, the last thing that a customer perceives is the content.

Only 7% of what you say will be accepted. Be aware of this when formulating your presentation. It does not make sense to overwhelm the customer with all the information in the first 30 seconds, as he/she will not get it anyway. Concentrate on your looks, your charisma, your voice and your posture.

At the end, I would like to mention something very important, something that was not paid attention to in the study.

Mouth and body odor.

These two things are the absolute death for any good conversation. The mayor problem with it is that many people do not even notice it. One can do something against dirty ears, one can see that in the mirror. Also, if the hair is combed and the beard is trimmed. However, bad breath is not seen. Just like the body odor.

Bad breath can have many reasons. Often, brushing teeth is not enough. It can be because of inflammation, wrong nutrition, smoking or other things.

Watch out for these. It would really be unfortunate if your deal will fail due to the odor of yesterday’s dinner.
That was it for today. Thank you for your interest.


Author: Oliver Flossdorf

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