Aug 18, 2009

Sell What Your Clients Need Most

If your business is struggling to make sales, you're probably asking your self or your sales team "What's wrong? Why aren't we making the sales we need to hit our objectives?"

The answer to this question may be varied, with such challenges as:
1. The economy sucks.
2. Our product is confusing to customers.
3. Our prices are too high.
4. They don't have the money.
and so on...

Are you buying the excuses? In most cases, the reasons why you've stopped selling have little to do with the excuses and everything to do with your PERSPECTIVE and FOCUS.

With the right perspective and focus, your salespeople don't have to be Pedott from the classic The Twilight Zone episode entitled, "What You Need", where Pedott is a salesperson who hands each character in the show exactly what they need to catch a bus, get a job, save their life, and so on.

For example, if you say "the economy sucks" you could stop putting out the same effort you did in an average or good economy, which would cause your business to stop selling even more than the lack of economy. If you run the numbers and the economy is truly affecting your business, then lower your expenses as low as possible to still make it with adjusted economy, and then continue as aggressive as ever because a down economy is an OPPORTUNITY for salespeople who are creative to capture larger market share from those who fail to respond and manage their business appropriately.

If your product is confusing, simplify it. Customers buy when it is SIMPLE and EASY. Again, this is a perspective issue. If you're educating the potential client and offering too many choices, narrow it down and offer them TWO or THREE CHOICES. But keep it SIMPLE.

If your prices are higher, that may be a problem, but more than likely it is a problem of the salesperson than the problem with your product. IBM routinely charges more for their products than their competition. How do they do it? By SELLING what their clients NEED MOST! For example, when a Chief Information Officer (CIO) of a large corporation is considering a new mainframe computer system, when comparing the choice of IBM versus competitor A, who offers the same mainframe (as far as speeds and feeds go) for less price, or competitor B who offers a better mainframe for slightly higher cost, or competitor C who offers a distributed computing approach across multiple computers for significantly less money, how is it that IBM wins?

The answer is that IBM sells what the CIO needs the most: PEACE OF MIND. You've heard the expression "They say nobody ever got fired for buying IBM." The reason for that saying is that the CEO has peace-of-mind that IBM will keep their business running if anything goes wrong. That's what matters most to the CEO, and that also is priority number one for most Chief Information Officers, too.

As CEO of a much smaller company, I can assure you that I'm quite unhappy when my business' server is down. If I cannot send or receive email, it is a nightmare. I can only imagine how the CEO of a larger corporation sees the dollar signs flashing by the thousands in his or her glasses when their system is down!

If you're selling a vacation package, what are you really selling that client's need? Most likely more time with their loved ones, better health, rejuvenation, seeing the world/exploring cultures, living the good life, and things like that, right? So, don't focus on the details of YOUR program, focus on the details of WHAT THEY NEED.

If you're selling banking services, what is it your clients need the most? Most likely, they want easy access, better rates, security that their money is safe, and so forth. I also like to have NO FEES. If I'm late, if I'm overdrawn, if I forgot to transfer that chunk of money from one bank to the other, whatever, I don't want to be penalized for it. I hate bank fees. If I were running a bank, I'd eliminate most of those fees! Maybe you charge more for a monthly account or whatever but find out what your client's need and sell them that solution.

In an interesting study on whether clients "have the money" or "don't have the money to buy" a company I worked with determined that clients "HAD THE MONEY TO BUY" over 80% of the time, but decided NOT to buy because of some other reason (the salesperson was either annoying, failed to listen, or failed to sell what they needed that interested them).

So, sell what your clients need most and see if your sales don't go up, starting right now.

Extra Bonus Video:

For fun, watch The Twilight Zone, 1st Season, Episode 12:


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