Life is about adding value, sales is doing that in a concentrated way. The goal of a sales person, and we all are but I will leave that for another post, is to move potential customers to take an action that they will benefit from.
Sales techniques such as SPIN selling provide a framework that can be used to make potential customers aware of problems and their implications. But, what if your offering only solves a small part of those problems and not in the best way? You might know products that are much better suited to the customer in question are available.
Honesty is the best solution. Explain why you think your product is not a good fit.
The first times I did this I found to my surprise that the customer was even more interested in buying. On occasion this turned into a funny situation in which the roles were reversed, the customer was now trying to convince me that they should buy. But when I explained the why more clearly they always gratefully moved on.
By turning down potential purchases you obviously forego revenue in the short-term. Fortunately honesty is not only the right thing to do, but also a great strategy.
It is better not to sign-up a customer who will never be completely satisfied with your product, because they will not become a source of referrals. They might even do the opposite. In addition, any feedback will not be valuable because they use the product in a different way than regular users. This also means that they will require a lot more support than the average customer.
And eventually, they will churn.
Do a good job at explaining why you are not a good fit and they may even spontaneously think of someone in their network who could benefit from your offer. Otherwise you should ask. And if at some point in the future you do have something interesting, they will listen. Because you have earned their trust.
Note: this advice and other great ideas are included in the “Churn Prevention Master Guide” by InnerTrends. Check it out if churn is an issue for your business.