By Phil Ellerby

People do not buy products and services. They buy solutions and benefits.

No-one knows your product, its features and its benefits better than you.

So why waste a prospective client’s time with meaningless chit-chat? You just want to crack on and launch straight into your sales pitch or presentation.

Well, you shouldn’t – and here’s why:

Customers don’t care about your products. They care about their problems and they want solutions.

Even if your generic presentation paints your product or service as a must-have commodity for that particular prospect, it’s still not going to portray it as a solution.

Why? Because you haven’t taken the time to understand their problems or investigated the customers’ needs. Instead, you’ve started talking about how you can ‘solve’ generic issues. But how do you even know if these are issues they’re facing?

Salespeople who launch straight into their off-the-shelf pitch without finding out what their customers ACTUALLY want usually do so for three reasons:

  • They’re winging it
  • That’s all they know how to do
  • They don’t have a strategic sales framework to follow

Before saying anything about your product or service, it’s important to find out what you’re selling. If you don’t know, do some digging.

This is what you are NOT selling:

  • The product your company makes
  • Whatever services you offer
  • Some cool feature your product has
  • How inexpensive it is
  • The convenience of your product or service
  • What you get paid commission on!

If we’re honest, almost anyone can learn how to make a sale. They might not make it in record time or at a profit, but they can make the sale.

The key to generating sales consistently (up to and beyond your plateau) is to find out EXACTLY what your customers want. Then show them and explain to them how your product or service can fulfil that need. Doing this is often referred to as ‘benefit selling’.

What is benefit selling?

Benefit selling is a technique where the seller ties every feature of their product or service to an advantage or benefit that the customer needs or thinks is desirable.

But before you can find out ‘what to sell’ you MUST gather information on the following four categories:

Need: Asking open ended questions like ‘What’s the biggest problem with the current method you’re using?’ and ‘What will happen if this problem is not addressed?’ will help to uncover problems that your products and service can ‘solve’ when sold.

Personal Issues: Always ask your potential customer ‘What’s at stake for you if you achieve this goal?’ because it can help you work out their personal and professional attachment to the buying decision and why is it important.

Money Issues: Don’t be afraid to ask ‘What kind of budget do you have for this project?’ or ‘How would you justify a purchase like this?’ because it lets you find out how they will justify the purchase commitment.

Company Issues: Asking goal-related questions like ‘What target has your company set with regards to this?’ and ‘What will the impact be for your company if you’re a success?’ can help you obtain valuable information so that you can position yourself as a solution provider.

After gathering all of this information (which can be done formally or informally before or during the pitch), you’ll be well placed to present your product or service as a solution.

Now, instead of being one more alternative option in a sea of choice, you can target specific needs that your customer actually has.

This is what you COULD be selling:

  • A good time
  • More views
  • Improved customer service
  • Reduced churn rates
  • More leads
  • A lower cost per lead
  • An image or lifestyle
  • Peace of mind

Unfortunately, in our eagerness to find new sales opportunities, we sometimes forget what we are selling.

Adopting a coherent, unified, step-by-step approach to the sales process will prevent this from happening.

It will also make you think and come up with strategies about how to work out what must be accomplished in every sales pitch so that the process moves forward.

Remember, each sales scenario requires a different strategy. But in every case the product is NOT what the customer is buying:

The product or service you sell is simply a vehicle to something else.

Regardless of the industry or sector you operate in, being clear with your customer is one thing that’s very important.

Instead of selling products and services, sell them something of tangible value. Sell them a rock-solid guarantee. Sell them peace of mind. In fact, sell them whatever solution they really want!

However, if the value you provide at the heart of the deal cannot hold up today (and in years to come), your business isn’t really selling anything at all.

Improve your benefit selling now!

Does your business need to review it benefit selling techniques? If the answer is yes, please get in touch or call 0113 218 9552 and let us help!