Your customers won’t want you buying a ticket for the Blame Train!…


I remember long ago paying to see a motivational speaker, who I had been looking forward to seeing for quite some time. As I waited, I was impressed to notice he had a set-up of a laptop, a projector, and a pair of speakers for his presentation – so I thought we were going to be treated to a truly inspirational and professional talk.

We listened to the event-host give an enthusiastic introduction to our speaker. The time was here, and we all applauded while the speaker stood up, smiled and strode confidently to where his laptop was set up.

He took a deep breath, like he was about to deliver an uplifting sermon, pressed a button on his laptop, and…NOTHING!

The projector screen froze, with just his emblazoned name shining back at us.

He smiled again and nervously pressed buttons on the laptop again.

Then, after about a minute of uncomfortable silence, our motivational speaker confidently declared: “I haven’t used this laptop before!”

I must admit, I did feel sympathy towards him as other guests flocked around to help him un-freeze his presentation. But he compounded the situation by saying: “I used have other people to sort all this out for me, so it’s not my fault!”

When he did manage to proceed with his presentation, he constantly made reference to not knowing what was coming next on the slides as he had never delivered that new presentation before.

Not once did he admit that he should have prepared more professionally and road-tested his new presentation in a safe environment prior to the talk. It was the laptop’s fault, it was the slides’ fault…but it was never his fault!

Remembering that event got me thinking about how we deal with our customers, especially when things go wrong.

It’s very easy and tempting to buy a ticket for the Blame Train.

Let me explain what the Blame Train is.

When something goes wrong and the customers are looking at us for answers, we often blame anything and anybody other than ourselves for the problem.

–          It’s not my fault, the supplier didn’t deliver on time

–          It’s not my fault, the computers are down in the office

–          It’s not my fault, the traffic was jammed

When we do this, we’re buying a ticket for the Blame Train – letting someone or something else take the blame away, so we don’t have to take any responsibility for it.

But that’s not what our customers are looking for. What they really want is answers, not excuses – and they want the answers from us.

They want us to take responsibility for finding a solution. They don’t care that the supplier hasn’t delivered on time, or that the computers are down in the office, or that the traffic was jammed.

They want answers, not excuses – they don’t want to see us buying a ticket for the Blame Train!


Use your Magic Wand or paint a Rain Cloud to find out your client’s needs…

I often get asked about the kind of questions to use to find out about a client’s needs. This is a vital stage of the sales process, which if you get right will help differentiate you from your competition.

However, if you get it wrong you will never truly find out what your client really wants from your services – and this can lead to you not winning the business.

So the questions should be all about the results your clients want to achieve following your help, not about what you can do for your client.

If you are struggling to get your client into the correct mind-set to start thinking about the results they want, don’t worry!

Amazingly, many clients don’t know exactly what they want, they just know they need your help – but this is where you can start coming across as being someone they want to buy from, not someone who is trying to sell to them.

It’s important you get them to start visualising what a positive effect on them or their business you can have. You can do this by using your magic wand! (I’ve been using it for years!)

Simply try saying this to your client – “If you had a magic wand, what changes would you make to you/your business?”

The answer to that is always going to be the start of you finding out what your client really wants to achieve. You will, of course have to ask more questions but at least you will be on the right track.

However, some clients may struggle to picture what good looks like. If that’s the case don’t worry, it’s just because they’re not wired to instantly focus on the positives.

With these clients you have to paint a rain cloud!

Nobody likes the idea of getting a soaking – so ask them a “rain cloud” question.

For instance, you could say “What effect on your business could not increasing your sales have over the next year?”

Whatever they answer with, all you have to do is say you can provide them with the opposite as the result of your help. Simple!

So try out your magic wand and rain cloud – you’ll find they are a good way to get your clients to open up and tell you what they really want from your help.


Do you use USPs or UBPs to convince your customers to buy from you?

If you are in the business of trying to persuade your customers to buy from you (and if you are in business then that is probably a big YES) then you will have more than likely heard of something called Unique Selling Points (USPs)

These are what set you apart from your competition and help you stand out in the crowd.

In theory!

USPs are supposed to be specific to you and your business (hence the word unique) they are supposed to help you sell more of what you do (hence the word selling) and they are supposed to be concise (hence the word point)

That is what USPs are in theory, but in practice do they really help you stand out in a crowd and set you apart from your competition?

I recently worked with a client of mine and I asked them to list their USPs. After much consideration, their list contained points such as “we have a wide range of experience” and “we have flexible, friendly staff”.

In addition, they talked about how long they have been in business, and how many offices they have around the country.

They were quite happy with their USPs, but I’ll ask you the same question that I asked them – Would you buy from that company based on the USPs just listed?

After a moment to consider, their answer to that question was a navel-gazing No.

The main point to this is why? Because there was actually nothing unique about any of their selling points – in fact, a dozen companies doing what they do would have probably listed broadly the same USPs.

And another thing, the biggest problem with most selling points is that they tend to talk about yourself and not your customer.

Consider this – who is your customer more interested in, you or themselves? Themselves, of course, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Deep down, most customers don’t really care about what we do; they only care about how we can help them get the results they want.

Put another way, all customers really want is to buy what can help them achieve the results they want.

So turn your selling points into buying points – think about the results you help deliver for your customers, and make a list of them instead.

You’ll be well on the way to turning your USPs into Unique Buying Points – and every customer much prefers to buy rather than be sold to!


I’m looking forward to helping you…

Hi Everybody

Thank you for visiting my site. First I’ll start by saying I’m really looking forward to helping you with this site. Over the coming days, weeks and months, I will post blogs that are designed to give you tips on how to sell more business without it feeling like you are selling.

Please keep checking back for new stuff (because it will be coming on-line every few days)

Also, I should soon have a “Blog Notification” tag, that will mean you can get a nudge whenever I put something new on here.

In addition, if Twitter is your thing, I would love for you to follow me @ZeroSellSale.

Lastly, in order for me to help you I need to know what you need help with. So feel free to drop me a line ( with any burning sales issues you have – chances are I’ll post a blog that will help you with whatever is causing you a problem.

Thanks for reading, Damian