Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sales Training Building Blocks-6

Imagine if you were the first person to sell disposable diapers. Would you promote the features, or the benefits?

Now imagine you are the first person to try and sell bottled water.

It doesn't matter what you are selling, there is a right way and wrong way to approach your prospective customer.

Read this and apply it to your life:

Selling New Technology

"That it will ever come into general use, notwithstanding its value, is extremely doubtful; because its beneficial application requires much time and gives a good bit of trouble both to the patient and the practitioner; because its hue and character are foreign and opposed to all our habits and associations."

Thus the London Times in 1834, referring to an invention by French physician Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec. The invention was the stethoscope.

That was and is often the response to new technologies. They are viewed with suspicion; they signify risk; they are not for the faint-hearted. Generally, the first buyers of new technology are those who buy every new technology that comes out in their field. They will pay whatever is being asked simply because they are technophiles; they love technology for its own sake. But these early adopters are a rare breed, and will not sustain a new product for very long. Once the field of early innovators is saturated, real selling must begin.

Rule #1 about selling innovative and disruptive technologies is this: Resist the temptation to talk about product features. Given the extraordinary advances being made in technology, product features are likely to be dazzling. Nevertheless, resist the temptation to speak of them. Customers are only interested in two things:
  1. Does it work?
  2. Will it positively affect my bottom line?
So if the fundamental rule is to avoid talking about product features, what are we left with? You must sell value; not just communicate value but create value. Help your customer identify unseen opportunities for his company that will help him achieve positive business results; help him explore unanticipated solutions to problems that he has been struggling with - show him a better path to the hoped for outcome, or a better outcome. Therein lies value.

Another thing to remember is that most new technologies are initially expensive. And the more they cost, the more people who will be involved in the decision to buy. Which is to say, the more people that have to be convinced. Meet individually with each of the stakeholders, if possible, and provide value at every level.

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