Today customers are buying more and more frugally, thus putting the pressure on sales teams to outperform the competition. The challenge is are we attacking this issue from the right perspective by training sales people on selling skills and product knowledge? While these are valuable they do NOT provide customers with the opportunity to look at YOU or your sales team differently. What if there were a way to differentiate yourself and what you sell every step of the way where customers look at you as a partner and NOT just someone selling a product or service they need? The way we sell is as important as what we sell and each interaction creates a perception. Thus the coaching opportunity!
The goal of any sales person is to make the sale, but so often we lose deals due to price or a lack of service / product understanding or ??? A good friend of mine in Minneapolis always states it comes down to people like to do business with people they trust and like. I could not agree more but I also think that leaves it up to the sales person to be honest with him or herself. Do they truly understand not only how to do this but more importantly what truly is their unique sales difference.
What is the Sales Difference?
A sales difference is where somebody provides a unique experience in terms of the way they interact and/or sell their product or service far differently from the mainstream competition. This provides a unique perspective for any customer doing business with this type of person.
Why We Need A Sales Difference?
Today customers have access to so much information via the Internet that often, whether fair or unfair, our products and services have become commoditized in the eyes of prospects and customers. We need to stand out as sales professionals!
First Examples of a Sales Difference:
One of our clients has a huge call center selling technology services and products. Their battle, albeit not unique to them, was voicemail. You know where you get lulled into leaving messages such as " Hi John, this is Tim and I wanted to just check-in…" This provides no sales difference or unique point of perspective for a customer listening to that message. We created a Sales Difference by allowing people to leave work early and go home and make a set of phone calls knowing they were going to leave voicemail messages for prospects and customers between 9 and 10 PM at night. The message was specific to the following: "hi John this is Tim I was thinking about your organization and I've got a unique idea for you…" The sales difference was most phone systems have a time stamp and when people would come in the next morning they would hear a voicemail that was left between 8 and 10 PM at night. The result? Our return rate on voicemail went up over 30% within six months.
Second example: the Milwaukee Brewers sales and customer service team:
I must preempt this by saying this is a group of special people who have served as one of my favorite clients through the years. They simply are the most dedicated and devoted people I've ever seen to the client experience. As a collective group they realize people are buying much more than a ticket to a baseball game rather they are attending an experience. What's even more impressive about this group of people is they realize when they are selling they are a part of the experience. Let me give you an example. I provided my tickets to a client and shared with my rep that my client would be sitting in my seats. I provided no further instruction but later heard from my client that they showed up at the seats with gifts and bobble head dolls for my client's children who were attending. My clients first reaction was WOW I did not even know they did that at Miller Park. The tickets were bought and in theory the transaction was over but the experience continued to grow before, during, and after the game when people buy tickets from the special group of people.
Third example: billion-dollar recreational boating company
Years ago we worked with an organization that had multiple call centers that interacted with customers on a daily basis. They sold boat oil, props, and other commoditized products. We all knew we blended in with the competition and really we were doing nothing different that provided us a unique sales difference. One of the top objections we kept getting when calling into boat dealerships (our customers) was they did not have time to talk because they were getting ready for their open house or boat show. After speaking to many people on the team who said this was just a common objection that they had to deal with I asked the question "what if we could use this to our advantage?" People thought I was nuts because they did not see a way of doing this. To make a long story short we assembled a deep file system of information specific to running successful open houses and boat shows. Instead of being bounced off the phone we embraced this objection by saying "that's one of the reasons I am calling because we may have some information that could help you". We literally provided information that facilitated an experience where we did not directly financially benefit in terms of that particular interaction. The result customers bought more commoditized products and services from us during that 18 month period to the tune of sales increases of 22%, 31%, and 74%!
The sales difference is the experience we create for people when doing business with us and provides a unique opportunity as it helps salespeople and teams break out of the normal transactional type of interaction. If you are interested in creating a sales difference in your marketplace and industry and would like to receive more information on this coaching program please let us know with the form below:
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