Sales Performance - We're Not a Commodity, We're Different

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Apr 24, 2007 @ 13:04 PM

My grandfather sold cars during World War II and until he passed away in 1968.  At one point he even owned an Edsel Dealership, which said more about his confidence in his selling ability than it did about his ability to make a good business decision. If you're wondering, the selling gene skipped a generation and a half because my dad was an optometrist and I was an acute introvert for the first half of my life.

During the war, it wasn't very difficult to sell cars because cars weren't being manufactured while steel was being used for the war. Sellers could get just about any price they asked because demand far exceeded supply.  After the war, car manufacturers went back to the business of building cars, supplies exceeded demand, and it required salesmanship to sell someone a car.

Your salespeople may face some of the same challenges today, not because of supply and demand, but because of the competition created by the global economy.  There may be many more choices than ever before, with most offerings looking very similar if not altogether the same.

Differentiation is the name of the game or your salespeople risk being commoditized by their prospects.  Discussions about pricing, whether to justify the price, defend the price, examine the value-added or explain the pricing strategy all serve to further make you look like your competitors.

The great differentiator is what I call compelling reasons to buy.  Compelling reasons are the things that will motivate people to buy, buy from you, and buy now.  You must work with your salespeople to identify the compelling reasons that cause the people in your market to buy.  Make sure you differentiate those compelling reasons from features of the product or service, and the benefits of ownership.  I wrote this Baseline Selling Tip to explain.

In order to uncover and develop compelling reasons, your salespeople must have exceptional listening and questioning skills.  I wrote this post in January 2006, called Beyond Listening Skills to explain exceptional listening and questioning skills.

If you want to better differentiate your company from the competition, work on this exercise with your salespeople every week:

Compelling Reasons -

What are They?
How do we Uncover Them?
How effectively do They motivate your prospects to buy?
How effectively do They motivate your prospects to buy from you alone?
How effectively do your solutions address those Compelling Reasons?
How well do those Reasons justify your selling price?
When should you present your price in the context of the Compelling Reasons?

Features and Benefits -

How do they provide peace of mind?
How do they make prospects comfortable?
How do features and benefits make their decision to buy a good one?

Compelling Reasons create urgency and justify your price.  Features and Benefits make people feel good about spending all that money with you.

© Copyright 2007 Objective Management Group, Inc.

Topics: selling, Performance

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About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016 and this one for 2017. Read more about Dave.

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