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June 29, 2022

Selling When Asking About A Customer’s Prior Purchases. Talking About Their Decision Making Ability

When talking with a buyer, often they will bring up prior purchases (or you’ll bring it up).

You need to be careful how you talk about what they own now and what they have bought in the past. It may seem natural to downgrade something the previously bought, to make your offer look better. But I promise you, this is a mistake.

When you are discussing a prior purchase with a sales prospect you are really talking about their decision making ability. And saying that something they bought in the past was a bad decision is taken as an insult.  You are essentially saying to them “Buying from a salesperson is dumb, and I just proved it to you”.

They may not say anything to you. They may not even be consciously thinking this…but deep in their brain stems they are thinking “I may have made a bad decision before by buying from some salesperson…but I’m not going to make the same mistake again today”….and they won’t buy. You’ll never even know why.

By the way, what if they bought it from their nephew? Now you have insulted their family. What if they bought from a trusted friend? What if the website you just trashed was created by their darling 12 year old daughter? Now you’ve done it. And the only way they can get revenge is by not buying from you.


A short post today, but an important point, I think. Never criticize a customer’s previous buying decision.