Sales Crumbs from the Master's Table
Author Commentary with Brandon
Chapter 16 Commentary
You know your product better than anyone...right?
You live your product 24 hours a day. You breathe it. It is your lifeline to revenue/income and the fulfillment of your "what's" in life. You better know it! The product is the "smooth stone" in your sling. Less than half a century ago, the salesperson would take their demo kit and pitch book and "own the stage." In a sales soliloquy they would present their product, dazzle prospective clients with its fine array of features, and then close with an "incredible deal"...not so easy today.
A "standard" sales transaction is more like a wrestling match.
From the clients' standpoint, the "He who has the Gold (money) makes the rules." As a result, clients do their best to get all the knowledge they can before talking to you (the internet is great, isn't it?). Salespeople try to make their solutions complicated so that the clients need them, and the battle is on for the "upper hand." I love Seinfeld. There is an episode where George Costanza talks about "the hand." He is referring to the upper-hand that allows him to control a relationship as he laments, "I have no power. Why should she have the upper hand? Once in my life, I would like the upper hand. I have no hand. No hand at all. She has the hand...I have no hand".
Selling in the Information Age
In this age of information, it is safe to say that consumers have access to your product. If they want to see it in action (click!) - YouTube...if they want to see others' reviews (click!) - Amazon...or if they click on the company website a "live" person is ready to "Chat." Yes, you may even be competing against the marketing department for sales! You have a distinct advantage: you are able to bring the product to life, give it a name and a face - making the purchase an experience.
Today's selling environment is highly competitive.
Readily available rankings and rating information on the "Top 10" of products sets the stage for the "burger war" mentality. We have discussed the parts of the sales process you can't control: your product, the client, and most certainly, the competitors' product. In a war of words against another salesperson or product, the client is likely looking for a deal where price becomes the differentiator. That reduces your sale (and your precious invested time) to a commodity. I watch salespeople expend more energy on clients that they have already discovered are "playing the cart against the horse" and only looking to be a hard negotiator.
In a commodity sale (where price and availability are all that matter) your physical presence is not an advantage, or even necessary.
Am I saying walk away from these sales? No! I am saying your strongest, sustainable sales approach is to focus on taking the features of your product and aligning them with the uncovered needs, thus creating benefits that bring your product to life. Value is expected in this day and age and price pressure is real. You have to become more innovative in demonstrating the tangible (and sometimes intangible) strengths of your product so price isn't the easy (or only) objection. Recall the Gatorade example; we will pay more for the same thing if wrapped up in an experience. That is not to diminish true value, but if cheap always wins...why fight?