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The Sales Buzz Issue 153 -Know your benefits
February 29, 2012

Do you think you know all the benefits of the products and services that you sell. Read what happened to an experienced professional and see if it clicks into place...

Know Your Benefits - Are you sure?

You may think you know all the benefits of the products and services that you sell but this story proves even the most experienced sales professionals can still learn a useful lesson.

Two sales people prepared for a presentation to a large prospect.

Their presentation covered all the customer’s requirements that were stated in the tender documents and they felt confident that they would give a good performance.

They were up against a much larger competitor and the only big negative that they feared was that the customer would think that they were too small, compared to the other supplier, to deal with an account of their size.

There were several points in their presentation that were aimed at overcoming this potential objection but they worried that if the panel of buyers held this belief it would be difficult to change.

The two sales presenters thought the buyers would see their smaller company as inexperienced in supplying services to a large account such as theirs.

At the same time the presenters from the larger supplier thought that they had a great advantage because they already serviced many accounts nationally of a similar size.

They could also give many examples of large accounts that they managed and the actions that they had taken with them.

Both sets of sales people gave their presentations and were happy that they had covered all the customer needs asked for in the tender.

The two presenters from the smaller company still thought the buyers were going to see their size and lack of large accounts as a negative.

The sales people from the larger company felt confident that their experience of managing other big accounts would see them successful.

What did the buyers think

A few days after the presentations one of the sellers from the smaller supplier was able to get some unofficial feedback from a contact they had within the buyer’s company.

The seller asked about the issue of them being a smallish company with few large accounts and wanted to know how much of a disadvantage this was.

It was a huge surprise when they found out that rather than size being an issue and a disadvantage it was actually seen as a positive benefit by the panel of buyers.

The buyers thought that as a very large account they would be well looked after and they would be very important to the smaller supplier. Whereas the larger supplier had many big accounts and to them they would be nothing special, just another large account, and they would not be seen as being any more important than all their other large accounts.

Find the benefit in all your features

To make sure that you use all potential benefits of your products and services take some actions.

We all make assumptions about what a sales prospect sees as a negative objection or a positive benefit. We presume to know what they will think from their perspective. So what can we do to ensure that we don’t see negatives where there aren’t any?

Take the following actions and put a different spin on all your features:

1. List all the features of your products and services. Include everything about what you sell, your company, the service, your experience, and remember the example above.

And do not judge the features, do not think about whether they are positive benefits or negative objections, just list them all.

2. Now, next to each feature on your list write as many positives as you can that will benefit the buyer. Even the ones that you used to see as a potential negative, come up with reasons why they could be a benefit to some customers.

Here's an example:

A great example of the above is a feature and benefit combination that I have used many times. When my sales team were selling a service that had to be delivered, and the customer was on the very edge of the area we serviced, many sales people assumed that the buyer would see this as a negative. They thought the buyer would think that there would be problems caused by the distance or that they would be missed if there were any problems with transport.

Instead I got my team to list all the positive benefits about this feature. Here are some examples:

Being the last customer on the route means you will not get forgotten by our driver.

If there are any transport issues we will become aware of them in plenty of time before we get to your site and have more time to sort them out.

As we will get to you later in the day it will always be in business hours when we arrive and you will be at the premises.

Having an open mind about features and whether they are benefits to a customer is a way to make sure that you present your sales proposal in the most positive way. See more on features and benefits at Sales presentation tips

I'm Stephen Craine from the website

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