What Nobody Tells You About Selling

Build a relationship then solve a problem.

“I don’t like to sell.”

So don’t, I say.

Instead, build a relationship and solve a problem.

That takes too much time, you say.

It does, I say.

So what?

You’re helping someone solve a problem.

Whether you work in a hardware store (I did!) or you’re selling products online, your primary role is being the problem-solver. Someone has a problem or need, and your product or service might solve it. But you don’t know whether your thing is the right thing until you get a feel for the person’s problem.

Ask what problem they need solving.

One question asked, and you’re on your way to building trust.

Helping someone solve a problem is at the heart of selling. Click To Tweet

In this newsletter, I mentioned that I sold some items I had saved to make awesome things…someday. Instead, I decided other people should have them so they can make awesome things.

The pallet planks were a popular item with many inquiries from the Facebook marketplace (free-for-now listings). One woman fell in love with cute country garden signs, but she couldn’t live with the price. She decided to handpainted signs herself. As she shuffled through the small stack of planks, I coached her through the pros and cons of each board to help her understand whether pine or oak planks will work best for her projects. I showed her how I used similar boards to make a clock, rustic baseboards, and towel racks. She got excited and bought ten more boards.

I didn’t sell her anything.

I taught her about the boards and gave her ideas about what to do with them. She decided she wanted ten boards instead of three.

Showing a customer how to use your product or service will build trust–and sales.


Then I met Lee.

I talked Lee out of buying my pallet planks.

Lee sent a message to me through Facebook’s messenger app. First, she wanted to know if I still had any planks left. She was looking for a cheap way to replace boards on her deck. Redwood or pressure treated boards are a better choice, I told her.

Of course, she said. “I just put my husband into a care facility, and I’m trying to figure things out.”

My heart sank.

I wanted to grab my husband and head north to help her. Instead, I told her Home Depot would have what she needs and to ask a trusted friend to recommend a reliable handyman.

I didn’t make a sale. But, I built a relationship with Lee, and she will keep an eye on what else I have to sell because I gained some of her trust.

That’s relationship building. And it’s what’s at the heart of honest selling.

As you move forward with your side hustle, whether you’re selling a product or a service, focus on forming relationships too. Look to see how you can help. If you’re product or service is not a fit, say so.

Let’s talk.

Are you a natural at building relationships or is it something you want to work on? Leave a comment and connect with me on Twitter.

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