WARNING: This article will make you deeply uncomfortable and make you ask why do you sell the way you sell
Telling Isn’t Selling
I was wondering if you sell any of the services or products listed below? And do you ever tell your prospects that this is some of what you sell?
Cloud Computing, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS),
Communications as a Service (CaaS)
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Business Process Management (BPM)
Platform as a Service(PaaS)
Virtual Private Data Centre (VPDC)
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Data Centre & CoLocation
Storage Area Network (SANs)
Single Sign On
Denial of Service (DDoS)
Why? So what? Who cares?
And do you ever struggle to differentiate in a crowded competitive marketplace where there’s a fag-paper difference on paper to your prospect between you and the next vendor?
Despite so many vendors and so much choice, I don’t suppose always get full fees and charge premium don’t you? And you never end up giving away value added services to buy the business? Or over-servicing to try and keep the business?
A quick test of your belief system re. selling. On the last 5 sales you have worked on, how many of them involved a conversation about discounts?
Q1. If you won the deal, why did you win it?
Q2. If you lost the deal, why did you lose it? What should you have done differently?
A1. If your answer to Q1 was you won it because we were the right technical fit and we offered a good discount
A2. We lost it on price and we should have given them a bigger discount!
Then you are falling into a trap called a heuristic. These are shortcuts to actual thought and reason. Let me illustrate my point.
Look around your room for anything that’s blue.
Blue. Blue furniture, blue paint, blue pens, blue ink, blue backgrounds, blue objects, blue curtains, blue clothes, blue cups, blue business cards, blue art, blue sky. Search for everything you can that is blue.
OK now close your eyes and recall all the yellow items in the room.
What this exercise should have taught you is that when you are looking for one thing you can be blinded to the stuff that you’re not looking for. Who hasn’t had the experience of looking for a red key-ring and only to discover it was blue and under your nose for the last 5 minutes?
How often are you falling into a similar blind-spot when you sell?
Buyers don’t buy for the reasons you think they will, they buy for their reasons. We had a client in Sandler who sold Oracle. He picked up an RFP from a German company that had SAP as an incumbent. After meeting the IT people he realized there was nothing there but he felt he had to put a proposal together, so he did, but at a massively inflated price and with no real technical effort going into the offer. He sent it off and to his surprise … he won it.
He had a great relationship, so when the salesman caught up with the CTO he told us candidly that the real reason was that he was looking for his next move and had no Oracle experience on his CV. Oracle’s proposal helped him deliver what mattered to him personally and emotionally; it helped him to advance his career.
Now how easy is it to sell for your reasons not the prospect’s reasons? How easy is it to fall into the trap that because we believe something or our attention is focused on a particular issue, that we blind ourselves to what may really be important.
The Cloud solves problems. Technical problems, business problems, emotional problems, financial problems, efficiency problems, competitive problems, branding problems; all problems that exist and are real in the lives of your prospects. But too often, aren’t we blinkered by our product knowledge training and traditions? (www.despair.com/tradition.htm)
How Much Does Using Your Extensive Product Knowledge Cost You in Lost Sales?
“Product knowledge used in the sale is lethal” – David Sandler
Selling is not negotiating. Negotiating is what happens AFTER YOU HAVE FAILED TO SELL! Negotiating is a more painful version of order-taking which is where you show-up and throw up, quote and hope, and sell and run. And then you beg for the business and drop your trous prices in the hope that the buyer will throw you some crumbs compared to the real value you bring to them.
Selling is not about spilling your guts and answering every question asked by the huge technical team whose express reason for having you in the room is to plunder you and your techies of their knowhow without paying you for it.
That is called FREE CONSULTING. (A very bad thing since the second highest hidden cost in any business I have come across in the last 9 years has been the hidden costs of selling)
Selling the Cloud requires you to be a diagnostician first. Find out WHY they need and want what you offer. Does it help them advance towards their personal and strategic objectives or does it tick a technical box? Get examples. Ask about the impact.
Why are they considering changing anything? What keeps them up at night; causes them to risk missing their targets or lose their bonus; what puts their mission or vision in jeopardy; if they lag for much longer who stands to gain the upper hand over them; why does any of this matter to them personally; what impact does not doing something now have on them: what impact does t have on others; why do they care; so what; who cares; how much is this costing them in time, money and resources; who is looking for them to fail?
The potential for diagnosing their reasons for buying is almost limitless so long as you get out of your own way in the sale. The only person who really cares about the technical gobbledegook your presentation is filled with and the features or benefits you think are important is …… YOU!
Your prospect wants his pain fixed, ideally forever, if not, for now.
Remember, “You differentiate in HOW you sell not in WHAT you sell.”