Is it true, you should let people buy what they want (all the time) & never advise what they need?

You probably know by now I read a lot of business books. And in a recent 1 was a section on this very topic, which worried me.

The words used were something like. ‘You can go broke trying to sell people what they need. How-ever you’ll do very well by selling them what they want’.

Now I get this principle in certain situations…

Such as the flush premier league footballer who needs a watch to tell the time, but really wants a Rolex to look cool & show off to his mates. Or the middle-aged man (like me) who needs a reliable comfortable roomy car, but really wants a sporty 2-seater to address his mid-life crisis.

Surely this doesn’t apply in business though?

In the office solutions world. It’s like selling a photocopier to a customer who only prints a ream or 2 of paper a month, telling them to buy it now, because it’s what they’re going to need in the future.

But, shouldn’t we really advise the best solution is our small organisation managed print service, and if they grow out of it, we’ll let them upgrade to a photocopier without financial penalty?

We’ve built our team on honest simple service & I guarantee they’ll never miss sell you. They always advise the most cost-effective service fit for your purpose, with a penalty free upgrade guarantee.

So, who’s right & who’s wrong?

Do people prefer honest advice to make sure they’re provided with the technology solution they need & is fit for their purpose. But not necessarily the solution they thought they wanted.

What’s your view on this & how do you apply it in your organisation?