The Embarrassed Sales Person
In any business, sales make the world go round. If you’re not selling, then you have no business. This is true whether you’re a one-man-band or a corporation with tens of thousands of employees. No one can lose money forever.
You would expect sales people to understand this better than anyone, after all – they’re the ones whose compensation depends on how much they sell. Yet, in spite of that, selling seems to be something that even sales people struggle with.
What may surprise you is that it’s not because prospects don’t have the money to spend; neither is it because they are unwilling to spend it. Instead, it’s because many sales people are afraid to ask for it. They’re willing to talk about the features and benefits of their products all day long, but when it comes to the money, they don’t want to talk about it.
Why is that?
Fundamentally, it’s because there’s an essential ingredient that’s missing from their sales presentation if not their mind-set.
You see, prospects have become wise to it. They know the process. They have your script memorized – cold. But there’s one thing that they are waiting for you to tell them. When they hear it, then they’ll buy. Without it, you don’t have a chance. Your prospect won’t give you the buying signals, and as a result you won’t have the confidence to have the all-important conversation about money that both of you know needs to take place.
What is that all-important ingredient?
It’s the value of what you have to offer…
Here’s the thing:
The reason that you’re afraid to have the money discussion with your prospect is because you don’t believe, in your heart, that your product or service is worth the asking price. Instead, you’re too embarrassed to even mention it.
Sales people confuse benefits with value. They think that the two terms are synonymous. They’re not.
Value is much bigger than the benefits of your product or service.
Few sales people know how to build value into what they’re selling. The reason is that they’re not taught to do it. They learn about features – what their product or service has, and benefits – what their product or service does, even does for the customer; but they’re not taught why that makes what they’re selling valuable. If you can’t explain that, then your prospect will simply lay your “solution” alongside every other offer made by your competitors, and then when they feel the need to move forward, they will weigh up the pros and cons of each.
When you build value into what you’re selling, you’re doing the comparison for the prospect. You’re explaining how investing with you won’t just add value, but rather how all you do is of value.
Past-pace and future-pace
One way to build in the value is to find out how much the problem has cost the company. How much have they spent so far in resources such as manpower, material, and time? What has been the opportunity cost? What value have they been unable to provide their customers as a result? Another is to assess the cost, in the future, of not fixing the problem now…
Some sales pundits suggest that you find out how much a company is willing to spend to fix the problem. The truth is that it doesn’t matter. You’re not there to squeeze every penny out of them. You’re there to find out how value can be created if they can solve their problem with your solution. If they see the value in what you can do for them, then they’ll find the money, as long as you’re not greedy…
And here’s a counterintuitive tip. You probably know that any time you enter into a business negotiation, you have to know in advance what you’re willing to concede. Prospects often look for this as a way to get the price down. How do you do this in terms of value? Instead of removing parts of the product or service, describe what you’re taking away in terms of the value that they’re losing.
Everything you do, from the first contact to the close, has to be about the value of what you’re selling. You not only have to believe unequivocally that your solution has more value than anyone else’s; you also have to enable your prospect to see what that looks like.
If you can do that, then you’ll leave your competitors to eat your dust.
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