Value Must be Discovered Not Revealed
Some companies add value taglines into their product and marketing literature. Others build additional value straight into their products. However, from a selling perspective, you cannot bring value to a sales call, you can only find it. Yet it will not happen when you are so busy trying to create it.
Value is latent, it must be discovered by the customer to maximize its leverage. It needs to be expressed from the customer to have any weight. Let them define it in relationship to what the absence of value is costing them.
Mainstream sales people simply try to transfer knowledge and value of their product. Strategic sales people do so by describing experiences based on predictable frustrations they know that their prospects have a high likelihood of having gone through.
Their strategy is to get the customer to think differently about their business, instead of getting customers to change their minds, or think differently of their solutions. It takes a lot of gutsy intuition to sell strategically, and it takes a lot of creativity to breathe new life into common everyday problems.
Information sellers are extremely unfocused because they are so self-focused. They are so attuned to the good vibrations and the good feeling they derive from selling their powerful messages, that they automatically tune out and miss negative cues and vibes from their customers regarding their problems.
"Forget about your best practices. Best practices are usually common practices," says Marty Neumeier. The best practices of yesterday in sales have a way of being the worst practices of today. Case in point, the ultimate prize of information sellers—features and benefits. The feature and benefit sales model is a veritable thrift shop of hand-me-down selling points passed on by generations of classically trained sales people, all specifically created for a previous bygone era in selling.
No one likes to buy their clothes at the Salvation Army, and none of your customers put much stock in your old, tired and used ideas. This is a huge blind spot for orthodox sales people who are so enamored with their features and benefits. As the old African proverb goes, and it relates beautifully to information sellers, "A Hyena can't smell its own stench," and either can information sellers.
Customers are silently begging sales people to make them really think. Yet sales people do the exact opposite. Information sellers are the blind leading the blind. Through their sameness they have taken a very human communication process and stripped it of all its "humanness." I know it is not a word!
Information sellers are deaf, dumb and blind because they look like sales people, they feel like sales people, they sound like sales people, instead of thinking and feeling like customers. They do not fail because they choose the wrong course—they fail because they cannot imagine a better course. It is a very dull and uninspiring profession the way they practice it.
Customers know that information sales people use their product expertise not to help them understand their issues better, and help them understand their options, but to influence their decisions and sometimes to their detriment. So customers deal with this information overload in the best way they can, by discrediting it, ignoring it and blocking most of it out. And by ignoring sales people, their emails and their voicemails.