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Enabling B2B Sales & Marketing

How to Sell More Without Mentioning Your Products

Posted by Bruce Rasmussen on 01-Dec-2016 16:17:20

Why talking about your company, products and services won’t get you the sale

OK – hands up – how many of you have proudly invested in your “company presentation”, insisting your sales team includes it at the start of every customer meeting?

Typically, it will go something like, “Here’s how we started – here’s our staff – here’s our locations – here’s our products and services…” and so on. What a great way to bore a customer to death!

Think about it – what’s everyone’s favourite topic? If you guessed themselves you’d be correct. The truth is that your customer would much rather hear about how you can improve their business. When we talk about our products and services we’re living in our world – but if we’re going to build empathy with our customers, we’ve got to show them that we know how to live in theirs.

It’s Not About You

No matter how wonderful your product or service is, if your customer can’t see what’s in it for them, they won’t be interested. Here’s an example: What’s the total market size in Australia for Microsoft Word? If you’re thinking big numbers, you’d be wrong. The answer in fact is zero. Nil. Nada. Not a sausage.

Huh? What do you mean? We’re talking about THE most popular writing tool in the history of the planet! How could their market size be zero? Simple – no one needs Microsoft Word. But they do need to write reports, resumes, manuscripts and so on. So, if we were selling Word, we wouldn’t just talk about how great it is – we’d show our customers what it can do for them.

Features vs. Benefits

If you’re in the business of selling, I’m sure you’ve heard that although features are important, benefits are what sells. But it seems the message is still not getting through, with research from Forrester showing that just 30% of B2B IT sales representatives understand a customer’s business and individual KPIs. This is a big problem for sales people. How can you have a conversation about how your business can deliver the outcomes your customers want, if you don’t know what those outcomes are?

To get through to your customers you need to “build the bridge” – in other words your sales team must have the ability to translate product features into customer outcomes. And to do this effectively, you’ll need a good grasp on exactly what they do and how you can help them get better – so take the time to get to know what makes them tick. This example also applies to businesses moving to the cloud. No one needs to move to the cloud. But they do need the cashflow benefits of annuity purchase, the ability to scale storage up or down depending on requirements, to seamlessly backup off-site, and all the other key benefits moving to the cloud can bring.

Understanding Equals Loyalty

As well as generating sales, every business wants to build customer loyalty – but how can you do this? Research from the Corporate Executive Board shows that over 50% of the contributing factor to customer loyalty is “the sales experience”. The experience is positive when you can provide insights to your customer that are relevant to their marketplace. Interestingly, nowhere does the research mention sales people winning loyal customers through explaining about products, services or companies. To win loyalty, your sales team must “build the bridge”, and show customers how and why your product and service will make their life better.

Build That Bridge

The bottom line is, we must always remember, that everyone’s favourite topic is themselves. People want to know how your product or service will improve their business and they’re not all that interested in seeing an in-depth presentation on the ins and outs of what you do. This is why we must always present to customers with a focus on them, not you or your products. So, rally your sales team and transform that presentation into something that will excite your customer and get results – by making it all about them.

Over to you

Has your sales team built the bridge? Or are you still putting customers to sleep with pointless presentations? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Topics: B2B Sales, Sales, Disruptive Selling

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