OK, what's wrong with this headline?

An Inc. Magazine article trumpets, "To get customers interested in what you're selling, make your sales message about your customers." Do you see anything wrong here?

Why would a high-profile national magazine write about this as though it's news? Anyone in business for any time ought to know that it's about the customer, not the seller.

The reason this made headlines is because most businesses still sell as though it's all about them, not their customers. And, increasingly that's becoming a reason for business failures.

Businesses need to engage and converse with prospects and customers alike-finding out what they need and want, then offer solutions that really work. If there isn't a ready solution, be upfront and say so.

People are tired of the same ol' tired sales pitches-often by someone who is over-caffeinated and under-equipped in the listening department. These salespeople are so busy stating their spiel that they can't be bothered to take a breath and listen to their audience.

In self-storage, transactions often are perfunctory. People want to rent space, and space is what you rent them. But before concluding the transaction, try to ask some questions that will help you size up their needs-and perhaps give you a way to provide a more fitting (and, yes, possibly more profitable) solution.

Of course, part of listening is to know when to shut up and sign up. When somebody is clearly motivated and insistent on a particular solution, often the best way to go is to complete the transaction-and move on.

The sales world is changing. By paying attention and being tuned in to prospects and tenants alike, you can change their experience-and yours-for the better.

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