Sales people have been taught to sell features and benefits – and it doesn’t work. In this episode of the Sales Management Minute, learn the secret to engaging prospects.
Last night, I woke up at about 2am. Unable to go back to sleep, much to my wife’s chagrin, I turned on the television. Channel after channel was showing infomercials for fitness products. It was a parade of beautiful people using various exercise equipment. Every actress was smiling as if she had just won the lottery, making it seem like this exercise equipment created a delightful experience. All of these infomercials were designed to make viewers see the outcomes of exercise.
How many health club memberships would be sold if the sales person said to a prospect, “After your first day of exercising, you are going to hurt…and hurt bad! Day two is even worse. Walking will be a chore. For the first few weeks, you will walk around looking as stiff as Frankenstein. And, you won’t see any measureable results for 4-6 months. Would you like to sign up for our platinum membership?” Good luck selling memberships with that offer.
Traditional selling teaches sales people to talk about product features and benefits. Sorry to say, but that philosophy just won’t work. Think about what you sell as the bridge to outcomes. The health club sales person uses needs analysis questions to uncover what each individual wants to accomplish through exercise. He never sells the equipment. Exercise is merely the vehicle that helps people lose weight, get stronger and become healthier. That’s the story people buy all day long.
A while back, I launched a technology company called The Revenue Accelerator which helps companies created structured onboarding initiatives for its sales people. If we focused prospect discussions on the amount of work it takes to create an onboarding program, our conversations would be rather short. However, we focus our conversations on outcomes like: reduced ramp-up time, improved revenue performance and the financial impact on both the top and bottom-line. Those outcomes grab the attention of executives.
To implement the Outcome –Based Selling approach, identify all of the potential outcomes associated with your products and use needs analysis discussions to uncover which ones are most of interest to your prospects. That’s a story that sells!
See you next time on the Sales Management Minute.
Lee B. Salz is a leading sales management strategist specializing in helping companies build scalable, high-performance sales organizations through hiring the right salespeople, effectively onboarding them, and aligning their sales activities with business objectives through process, metrics and compensation. He is the Founder and CEO of Sales Architects, Business Expert Webinars and The Revenue Accelerator. Lee has authored several books including award-winning, best-seller “Hire Right, Higher Profits.” He is a results-driven sales management consultant and a passionate, dynamic speaker . Lee can be reached at lsalz@SalesArchitects.net or 763.416.4321.