We had an interesting discussion the other day with the Sales Director of a large, well known global brand.
They’re renown for launching new products into a competitive marketplace. Some of their recent product launches have produced results much poorer than expected.
His solution to the problem was to deliver better product knowledge workshops. “Product knowledge is what it’s all about … it is the key factor!”
We suggested that all our experience shows that building a genuine relationship with a prospect, qualifying them and discovering their unique buying motives was MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than product knowledge (which is still important by the way).
He was confused and so we explained that our research shows most companies spend days and weeks on product knowledge … and almost no time on how to sell. The result is a knowledgeable sales team that can list features and benefits – which creates a lot of conversations and not enough sales.
“You’re right” he said: “our sales activity increases with new product launches, but our sales productivity decreases”.
“What should our sales people be doing?” he asked. We handed him an empty coffee cup and said: “How would your team go about selling me this?”
He thought about it for a while and then … you guessed it … launched into list of features and benefits about the cup: He went on and on … and eventually he ran out of things to say!
He then apologetically asked us: “would you like to buy it?” we replied: “We’d like to think about it”.
We then asked him: “what if I don’t even like cups, and prefer mugs?”
He was stumped!
The point was made … most sales people lead with a monologue on features and benefits of the product, in the hope that if they throw enough at the prospect, they’ll say “yes”.
Does that sound familiar? Of course it does.
At Sewells, our sales philosophy, is …
SELL THE PROBLEM YOU SOLVE, NOT THE PRODUCT
The Sales Director then asked: “So what’s the proper way to sell a coffee cup?”
We replied: “The proper way to sell anything is to first qualify the need and identify the unique buying motives … THEN … match up those needs to the appropriate features and benefits to fit those needs.”
It begins like this …
- “How do you use coffee cups in your facilities?”
- “How many cups do you go through in a month/year?”
- “What percentage of that is a) breakages? b) shrinkage?”
- “What’s most important to you in your coffee cups?”
- “If you were to change anything about the cups, the delivery, storage etc … what would it be?etc … etc …
This starts a meaningful dialogue that genuine buyers love … because it’s about THEM, not your product.
Do the Sewells Dialogue/Relationship based sales processes and techniques work? You bet!
- As a result of our work with an organisation in the automotive industry they had seen their best sales and profit results for 22 years – with no new products coming to market
- Another organisation in the financial services industry had seen sales up by 27% this YTD … on top of a record year in 2014
- Also, after working with an organisation in the oil and gas industry, we helped them accelerate sales activity by52% and productivity by 68%
If you’d like a confidential discussion about how we can get your team set for 2017, and beyond, then contact us now on 01244 681068 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org … you’ll be really glad you did.