I was at a dinner party last week with some friends. We were talking over an after-dinner coffee when someone bemoaned the fast pace of technological change. Now, that got my attention straight away.
“What’s the problem with technology change?” I asked.
“Well, almost daily a sales person contacts me with some new tech upgrade, software or a brand new device.” Came the reply.
He went on. “They all tell me about the performance of their product, but I want to know how it improves my business.
I had one of those Ah-ha moments!
Most technical sales people do concentrate on product features and performance. And why not! They are technical specialists and the new whiz-bang features are of interest to everyone, right?
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but most executives who make buying decisions are wholly absorbed in how the money they spend with you will improve their business. They don’t care too much about features. And this is exactly what my dinner friend was saying.
So let’s look at an alternative which I’ve had great success with over the years.
My first tip is that successful sales people understand that a buyer already has enough information on the product and how it performs. Product features and specification sheets are all readily available on your website. Further information is on user forums and chat rooms. So, if you’re sitting in front of a customer he probably already knows the specifications and features of your product.
Your challenge is to show him that you will add value to his business.
Sales people who haven’t recognized this fact … and made the change - are really wasting the customers’ time. By concentrating on product performance, you’re telling the customer things they already know.
And don’t fall for the trap that customers value your help by educating them on solutions that focus only on your products. Customers are much savvier than that. And technical sales people need to be too.
Here’s a concept I call Vision selling. It has worked for me. And it can work for you too.
Create a vision for your customer by helping them imagine the unimaginable. Then show them the route to achieve the vision.
Not so long ago, I was sitting with a sales team when the Sales Director looked at one of the team members and said.
‘Tell me about what’s happening in your customer’s industry.’
The sales person related information and knowledge about what was happening in his clients company…. But she missed the point! The Director had asked what’s happening in the industry. In other words, tell me about the areas that are impacting your customers business, market share and even their continued existence.
The Sales Director turned red in the face – thumped the table - and challenged the sales person to immediately find out about what was actually happening in that industry. He knew that if his team did not understand the industry and factors influencing it, they could not deliver the Vision Selling model.
Your customers are busy operating in the here and now. The opportunity for you is to give them that vison for their future. Tell them about what’s about to happen in their industry or in their markets that they may not understand or even be aware of.
Get Started Now
If you want to get ahead of the competition and provide real value to your customer then start Vision Selling now. Here’s how:
- Find out what trends are impacting your customers markets.
- What new technologies or techniques are being developed, tested or trialled?
- Do other industries have models that might be transferable to your customer and his market?
- Are there techniques used in other industries that might have application in your customers’ markets?