I recently taught a workshop to a group of experienced and very logical technical types who still believed that a clear, concise explanation of a product’s features and expected benefits was the most important selling skill. We had a lengthy discussion of why “telling ain’t selling.” Here are some of the key points to remember:
All buying decisions are first made emotionally; only when we know what we want do we look for logical rationalizations for why we should have it. Our customers are no different. If they want to buy from you because they trust you, or believe you “get them,” or are sure you are someone who will follow through, they will help you rationalize away differences in product and pricing. Of course you have to be competitive, but not the lowest. Just be reasonable.
Human beings are wired to contradict statements. No matter how great a talker you may be, a sales person’s opinions are not given much credibility. Selling is helping the buyer discover for themselves why our products and services are the ones they want to solve their problem or achieve their goal. The only mistake bigger than thinking you can talk someone into buying is thinking you can lower your price to become preferred. Buyers choose the product or service when they have a vision of how it will benefit them. When they can see their people using our stuff to solve their problem, we are helping them overcome their resistance to change and helping them realize the benefits.
When we lose a deal, it’s not because our product was missing a feature or our price was too high, it’s because we were out-sold. We can rationalize our loss any way we want to, but the fact is that someone else did a better job of leading the buyer to the decision and becoming the one they wanted to do business with. Get over it and do better next time by staying focused on the buyer’s goals. After all, it’s the goal or problem that got them looking in the first place and only a clear vision of how they can achieve it by working with us will overcome the power of staying with the status quo.
Selling is the most important job in our economy and the better we get at it, the more our customers , coworkers, and communities benefit. Be your best.