Sales Masterclass: Never Sell What You Think You’re Selling

“Why did the car salesman offer the customer a family ice cream pack?” 

“Why did the jewellery salesman refuse to tell my wife the quoted price of the diamond necklace she wanted to buy?”

Do these out-of-place questions pique your curiosity? Then congratulate me, because I just sold you the urge to keep reading this blog! 

This was one of the many tactics that Achal Rangaswamy, the speaker for GUSEC’s session on Never Sell What You Think You’re Selling taught the audience. Keeping the viewers engaged, entertaining all their questions, reading their views, and garnished with Mr Rangaswamy’s assorted stories about his life as a sales professional, the entire session was a treat to anyone willing to listen. In this blog, we list down some of the essential elements that will surely help any salesperson learn their trade better.

Mr Rangaswamy started the session by saying that, at the end of the day, there’s only two objectives of a business: a) making profits, and b) making your customers happy. “If you’re unable to achieve these two things”, he observes, “then you’ve no business to be in business.”

He continues to talk about how people throw a lot of fancy terms around when it comes to business jargon today. These consist of words like ‘pitch’ ‘B2B’ ‘B2C’, etc. We must always remember that sales are made H2H: heart to heart, and human to human.


Here are a few suggestions from Mr Rangaswamy that need to be kept in mind before one heads out to make the sale:

  • Know your customer. Know the whom, why, how, and what of whatever you’re pitching.
  • Don’t be a robot. Get as close as you can to the customer, try to understand him and his needs. 
  • Identify what your product stands for, and be willing to extend the benefit to the farthest possible distance, because there are always people who don’t even know about your product.
  • Try to gauge what the product stands for in the mind of the customer and how it can wow the customer in the very initial minute of presentation. 
  • The customer just looks for opportunities to profit his business/help him achieve his goals faster. Tell the customer the values your product is going to add to his business. Cue him in and make him realise the benefits of your product.
  • A customer has needs. Try to uncover those needs. Ask questions that make the customer think and revisit his needs, and illustrate how your product can take care of the customer’s needs.


  • Asking open and close probed questions is an obsolete strategy. A customer thinking and telling you about his needs is more valuable than you asking him leading questions and he answers them half-mindedly 
  • Have ‘issue-based’ probes. How? GUSEC has a session explaining the same. What did I just do? I sold you something without making it obvious! The moment you look like you’re selling something, the door will shut on your face, causing you to have a blunt nose in the coming years, Mr Rangaswamy jests.
  • Every moment is a sales moment. The sale doesn’t happen in the end, but the moment the call begins.
  • Do not go out to make a sale, but earning the interest of the customer.
  • Discard the product-centric approach and pick the customer-centric approach.
  • Customers have needs, products have features. Customers don’t buy features, they buy benefits that a product provides. Why? Because they look for the specific usefulness of a product. About 92% of salespeople in India sell features, not benefits, and this is where the problem lies. 


When going out to make a sale, you need to take care of your target customer. Mr Rangaswamy says, “your product may be God’s gift to humanity, but you won’t be able to sell it if you don’t understand humanity.”

  • If your product isn’t ready, don’t jump to make the sales. Do a little more probing. Most salespeople jump to product benefit in 4 questions. In a good sales call, one must ask 50-60 questions. If you haven’t uncovered the need, you’re not going to cover the customer. 
  • Slip into the customer’s shoes, but learn to remove your own first.
  • Build empathy with your customers and try to relate to them. Speak the language they speak.
  • Do not push your business jargon and machinery in their face. Do not try to sell a product of your dreams, one you’re obsessed with but the customer isn’t. 
  • Get your customer to accept you first, because the first thing a customer buys is your confidence, then the product. 
  • Be a problem solver, not a product pusher. 
  • The customer doesn’t buy what you’re selling, but why you’re selling it.
  • Remember, the customer is your collaborator, not a competitor. Be patient. Don’t kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
  • Create curiosity in your audience. Get their engagement, and only then ‘slip the ring and pop the question’
  • Know what your customer needs. Mention the need and the corresponding benefit. Don’t talk or sell to customers, create customers. 

In his ending remarks, Mr Rangaswamy says that the only person who’s been able to reach every person in the world is the Guardian of Death (Yamraj/Hades, take your pick), and a salesperson shouldn’t worry about losing out on customers. Every day that you wake up, ask yourself, “how many people am I going to make happy today?”, and to bear in mind a simple fact – salesmen aren’t born, but made. 


What things does one need to keep in mind while pivoting from a premium-market product to a mass-market product?

How can a salesperson qualify a genuine prospect?

How does a salesperson accelerate order closure?

How do salespeople connect with customers during the lockdown?

How can I put value-based pricing in capital goods? 


For answers to these and the opening questions of the blog, watch the entire session