I just received the latest issue of Tessa Stowe’s ezine in my email box and today’s feature article was titled, “Are You Making It Hard To Buy from You?”. It was really good so I just had to share it with you. I’ve added some annotations in blockquotes so they stand out and you can skip them if you feel the interfere with the flow.
Are You Making It Hard To Buy from You?
©Tessa Stowe, Sales Conversation, 2009
One of the reasons you may be finding it difficult to sell your products and services could be that you’re making it hard for prospects to buy from you. Without realizing it, you are slowing down a sale or even preventing the possibility of a sale, even if a prospect desperately needs what you are offering. So are you making it hard for a prospect to buy from you? Ask yourself these five questions and you’ll soon find out:
1. Can you clearly answer the question, “Why should I buy from you over your competition?”
If you aren’t conveying the answer to this question throughout your sales campaign, then you are leaving it up to your prospect to work out the answer. Working out the answer will take your prospect considerable time and effort, so most prospects won’t bother to do a thorough job. As a result, they’ll probably be unaware of a lot of your value and differentiations and will just see you as the same as everyone else.
Carma’s note: I was just listening to the pre-calls for “The Money Talk” with Kevin Nations and Lisa Sasevich and the way they put this concept really made sense to me. Your clients aren’t investing in you, they are investing in themselves through you. It is your job to communicate the transformation you offer so they can make the right decision for themselves.
2. Do you have a standard, one-size-fits-all, presentation or demonstration?
Your solution has lots of features and functions, and only a subset of those features and functions is of relevance and interest to any one prospect because only a subset will solve his or her specific problem. If you give a one-size-fits-all presentation or demonstration, you are leaving it up to your prospect to work out which features and functions are relevant. Your prospect will just feel overwhelmed and confused after your presentation and demonstration, and overwhelmed or confused prospects delay making decisions.
Carma’s Note: I believe what she’s saying here is that you need to understand the needs of your clients so you can tailor your sales presentations. So, how that translates to the online arena? I would think that you should “chunk” your solution into individual modules or mini-solutions. That way clients can pick and choose from your buffet of products and services the ones that are right for them.
3. Are you selling your product or are you selling an end result-an outcome?
Your prospect is not interested in buying your product but in buying an end result – an outcome – and your product just facilitates that outcome. If you sell a product, you will be leaving it up to your prospect to work out whether and how your product will deliver the outcome he or she wants. Again, this will take your prospect time and effort and, again, most prospects won’t bother. Focus on how your product helps your prospect achieve a desired outcome.
4. Do you work out the financial justification with your prospect?
Before your prospects will buy your solution, it needs to make financial sense. If you leave it entirely up to your prospects to work out the financial justification, your sale will be delayed until they get around to doing it. What’s more, even if they finally do the financial justification, they will not be aware of all the areas in which your solution can benefit them, so the financial justification will not be as strong as it could be if you laid it out for them.
Carma’s Note: One way of doing this is by, as Yanik Silver would say, comparing apples to oranges. In other words, compare what you offer to something that is similar but different. For example, comparing an exercise program ebook to a gym membership.
I hope you are seeing the recurring theme in my comments about the first four questions: If you leave it up to your prospect to do certain things, they may or may not take the time to do them and, because they don’t know your solution as well as you, they will not come up with the best answers.
The more things you leave up to your prospect to do, the more you will slow down the sale, risk the sale — and even prevent it. There is one more question you need to ask yourself and, in some ways, this is the most important one:
5. When you are talking to a prospect, is your intent to sell your products and services?
If your intent is to sell, your prospects will know it and clam up. They will sense that it’s all about your making a sale, whether it’s in their best interests or not. Your intent to sell can actually slow down and prevent sales.
Alternatively, if your intent is to help your prospects get what they want and need – whether it is your solution or not – they will be more likely to open up to you and give you the information you need to help them. They will sense that you have their best interests at heart and will be more open to your questions and ideas. Your intent to help them, rather than to sell your product, will actually speed up the sale if your product is what they need.
Carma’s Note: Have you noticed this concept showing up a lot lately? I’ve been hearing it everywhere and I love it. I’ve never much liked selling, but I certainly do like helping people. Lisa Sasevich mentioned this in “The Money Talk” pre-call I mentioned earlier. When you come from a place of helping your prospect help themselves, even if they choose not to buy from you, you will have made a good impression. The person may buy from you later or refer others to you who will buy. It may sound trite, but, really, it’s all good.
If you want to make it easy for your prospects to buy from you, your intent should be to help them. Then, in alignment with that intent, do ALL the work for them in terms of making it clear why they should buy from you over your competition, what features and functions of your product fit their needs, how your product leads to their desired outcome, and how your product can be financially justified – because you are the one best equipped to do so.
About the Author
Tessa Stowe teaches small business owners and recovering salespeople simple steps to turn conversations into clients without being sales-y or pushy. Her FREE monthly Sales Conversation newsletter is full of tips on how to sell your services by just being yourself. Sign up now at www.salesconversation.com.