Think of a time when someone you know had a birthday fast approaching and they knew in their heart and mind what they wanted to receive as a gift. Ever been in that situation?


They had thought about it long and hard. They knew in their heart they wanted that gift more than anything else. Apparently, they were this clear. Sometimes, such is the case for us, right?


One day, like many of us do, they walk up to their loved one and say with sparkling eyes, “I know what I want for my birthday.”


Perhaps preoccupied with other things, their loved one casually replies, “Oh! You do? Great! What is it?”


Taking a deep breath, this person affirms with conviction, “I want …” and, like perhaps you and me, awaits for reciprocity in kind.


Now imagine this person’s surprise when their counterpart utters, “No, you can’t have that, choose something else.” 


Have you ever been in a situation where someone decided for you what you needed?


I have and I can honestly assure you it sucked deeply. At the time, it made me feel like I was somehow ‘not’ smart enough to figure out and express what I wanted and needed. Therefore, like a judge and jury in a foul mood, I held the decider in contempt; I removed some of my trust in them and, as a result, liked them a lot less.


Can you imagine what it feels like to turn judge and jury on someone else?


For our birthday individual, the choices are quite simple: either find a way to acquire what they want and need by themselves or get someone else to get it for them. Makes sense?


In this context, let me ask you…


What happens to sales when a salesperson decides exactly

what their customer needs?


I believe, the customer will either find a way to acquire what they want and need by themselves or they will find someone else (other than that salesperson) to get it for them.


According Marketing Donut, a marketing think tank based in the United Kingdom,

“The 2% who buy at a first meeting tend to be people 

who have already looked into the subject matter, 

and already know what they’re looking for. (…) 

The other 98% will only buy once a certain level of trust has been built up.”


They continue by adding:

“Anyone who believes they can go into a sales situation armed with ‘101 sure fire sales closes’ and make sales is seriously misinformed – and about 20 years behind the times. Professional sales people get to know their prospects; understand their issues; solve their prospect’s problems; and provide irrefutable proof. They build relationships and trust by engaging in ongoing dialogue (otherwise known as follow-up). They don’t just peddle their products and services with an armoury of closing tricks.” 


If this is true…


Why do tell others we ‘know’ what they need?


Why do we decide for them what they need?


I believe the answer is, because we think it will be better.


Is it though? How would you feel if someone said to you, “No, you can’t have that, choose something else” ? Would you feel empowered to build a trusting relationship with that person?


Clearly then, deciding for customers what they ‘exactly’ need does Not work..


With this in mind…


How do things become better?


I believe, things become better when we focus on 

  • becoming open. Ask, ’What do you need right now?’

  • becoming intentional. Ask, What can I do right now to provide you with what you need?’

  • becoming accountable. ‘How can I ensure to you that I am here to assist you with your all your needs?’


Assisting a customer in getting exactly what they need instead of telling them what they need (big difference) might Not close one particular sale, BUT it will give them a genuine sense that you have their well-being at heart. It is this genuinely reciprocated feeling that builds loyalty. Your customers will remember you and come back because they know you, like you, and trust you.

Isn’t it what you want? A customer who buys from you because they know you, like you, and trust you?


Here are some rock solid tips to assist you who want to close more sales through reciprocated business relationships:

  • Be genuinely curious. Never assume anything. I am going to share with you a secret. One of the most powerful questions I am ever asked by my mentor is, ‘What does this mean to you?’ Every time he asks me this question, it forces me naturally to dig inside over and over and speak up for what I truly want and need. He mentors me accordingly.

  • Play the ‘What if’ game. Ask, ’What if your need was fulfilled right now, what would your business look like?’ This simple question forces a customer to share parts of their business process and vision with you. Respond in kind by sharing how you may be able to support the specifics aspects of their business they mention to you. Sales are closed on specifics, not grandiose (vague) statements.

  • Write down the customer’s keywords. Keywords are words that pack emotional energy to them. For example, words the customer hesitated to say, words spoken after a short pause or a long silence, etc. This implies the ‘I know’ has flown out of the window to be replaced with genuine active listening skills.

  • Deliver based on accountability. After a full round of ‘What does this mean to you?’  followed by another round of ‘What does this fulfilled need look like in your business?’, all this while speaking your customer’s language, what do you believe happens to your relationship with them? I believe, your customer will remember you and keep coming back because they know you, like you, and trust you.


Now imagine a salesperson has just read these tips…


What do you believe is their greatest challenge?


My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach who holds her clients highly accountable so they get to serve their customers from a place of genuine reciprocity, being relational.

For coaching inquiries, reach out to me at


Your Emotional Intelligence Coach,



For those of you who would like to know more about Marketing Donut’s study, here is the link to their article: