What do you sell?

“People spend money on a why not a what

Sales is agreeably about creating an emotional response from a buyer that makes them want to purchase from you. However, in business, you have to also create logical evidence about why that emotional response is correct.

Emotionally, on many levels, I would very much like to walk into a Ferrari dealership and buy their latest flagship model. This I believe would at the time of purchase would make me – extremely emotional. However, as I sat weeping with tears of joy on the shoulder of the car salesman who had created the correct feelings in my mind; passion, excitement about his product and a desire to drive off into the sunset in a rumbling thunder of rubber and Italian cool, a logical defence to buying would formulate in my mind. Is it as economical as I would like? Are the payments really affordable? Will my children fit in for the school run? Will it fit in my garage? Will he soon realise that I am a massive fraud and have me escorted from the premises and possibly prosecuted?

So, creating the right emotion for the customer to make a buying decision is important, but when preparing ‘why’ people should buy from you and use your services you need to formulate a logical argument as to why they should buy. * ‘Argument’ refers to applying a set of logically none-refutable statements or presuppositions – it does not imply being aggressive towards the customer.

Often within a sales environment you can find yourself telling someone all about the services and products you offer, without giving any reason to buy them that is personal to that customer. We all make purchases because we believe they will remedy an issue. We buy food because we’re hungry. We buy food in a posh restaurant because we want to eat to a certain standard or impress and project a certain image. We buy food at a drive-through restaurant because we are hungry and in a hurry!

It is said in business that all purchasing decisions are made on the basis of a believable return on investment for the buyer. When discussing what returns are possible it is worth remembering that not all returns hold a monetary value. When you use a new supplier the returns may be; more time, as the supplier can take on work usually done by yourself or your team. The return maybe piece of mind as they have a fantastic reputation or guaranteed delivery times. They may hold stock for you that allows you to free up space, reduce storage costs and take larger orders than you were previously capable of handling. None of these reasons to buy are products or services, they are reasons ‘why’ customers should buy.

When considering how you will present the reasons for buying your goods and services to potential clients it is important that you are well prepared, researched and practised at delivering ‘why’ they should buy as well as ‘what’ it is that you are selling. Presenting a shopping list of products to customers is never very exciting and will rarely help the customer come to a reasoned business decision that using your company for their needs is a good idea. The ultimate decision to buy will be made emotionally by the customer but the path to get to that decision needs to be laid on a foundation of solid logic.


Create logical reasons why people should buy from you

I always see sales meetings as a sport, a battle of wits, wills and logic. I will present a logical argument ‘why’ my customer should buy from me. Why it will help them, why it makes sound financial sense, why it will solve all the problems they have told me they have. They may then give me a counter argument as to why they shouldn’t buy, why it isn’t the right time, price or quality or why I’m not speaking to the right person (sound familiar?) The person with the greatest logical argument – wins.

Why should people buy from you? This is a question you need to ask yourself repeatedly and often. Always updating your answers, simplifying them and questioning their relevance in the market place.

Before starting out on any new sales initiative you must be prepared and rehearsed. Markets, economies and business trends change and you must ensure that how you present your proposition to people is relevant and up to date. Make a list all the services and products that you offer. Make the list as exhaustive as possible, not missing out any area of your business, no matter how insignificant you think it may be.  Next to each item list why people should choose you for that specific product over your competition? List why it makes sense to buy, why it solves a problem, why it saves time, money or effort. Whenever you introduce a new product or service add it to the list and come up with as many answers to ‘why’ people should buy it as you can. Every time you leave a sales meeting after an unsuccessful bid to win business, add to your list the reasons they gave you for not buying. Was their logical argument better than yours? This will start the basis of an objection handling book.

What are my USPs?

Knowing how you differentiate from your competition in the market is obviously essential when forming a plan to attack a sector and increase your revenue and client base. However, how many businesses truly have a ‘unique’ selling point? Unless you are the very first to market with a new technology or service or hold the patent on a certain invention that stands you apart from everybody else then the chances are you hold nothing truly unique. Instead of focusing on finding elements of your business that offer a unique experience to the customer or a product that they cannot acquire elsewhere, examine everything you have to offer and highlight the areas of your business in which you excel – look for your ‘Great Selling Points’. Again, list everything you can do for customers, then highlight all the areas where you outshine your competition. How do these help your customer? What problems do they solve? Logically, why should everyone use you for these great selling points?

When you compile all your GSPs remember, one of the biggest causes for customers not buying is when they don’t understand what you are offering and why it will help them. Have all your products and services listed, have all the reasons why each product and service logically is beneficial to the customer and then ruthlessly simplify everything. A simple message that creates an undeniable reason to buy is a powerful tool harnessed by businesses globally. KFC state that they ‘make hungry people happy’. You cannot get a more succinct message than that. Zappos the US based online shoe retailer claims they ‘sell happiness’. A search engine optimisation company called me recently and boldly stated how they would “show people that were looking for what I do – right now – in my area – all about me – what I could do for them – and how to contact me”. They never once mentioned complicated algorithms, key words, websites or other detailed products. Their logical argument as to how I could generate a return on investment was sound and I found it very difficult to reason why I shouldn’t at least talk further with them. Keep all your messages simple and don’t try to sell everything at once. The fastest way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!