(Note to marketers and copywriters – even though this article talks primarily about sales, there’s plenty of valuable information here for you too. I’m confident you’ll find it useful! John)
“No one cares about your product except you” David Meerman Scott – Author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR
Several years ago, I was in the market for a new pickup truck. I had made up my mind to buy a truck, I just hadn’t decided what kind or where. I went to the first dealership and told the salesman what I wanted.
He proceeded to do one of the worst jobs of selling I have ever encountered. This poor guy was disorganized, incompetent and downright clueless. And to top it off, he tried to persuade me to buy a particular truck because “we’re having a sales contest, and I want to win”. Do you think I bought the truck? Take a wild guess…
This story is absurd, but people whose business it is to market or sell, including marketing directors, business owners, not just “salesmen”, do this kind of thing all the time, even if not to such an extreme degree. They try to convince their leads and prospects based on what they want, what’s important to them, not what matters to their potential buyer.
They try to market and sell based on the product’s features, not its benefits (please understand the difference). They try to sell without ever taking the time and making the effort to learn what the prospect wants and needs – what the pressing problem is that keeps him awake at night – and how their product can solve this problem and make the prospect’s life easier.
Look, I understand you love your product. You have to love it in order to be successful selling it (or at least it helps). But remember this: your potential customer doesn’t care about your product. He doesn’t care about your company. He doesn’t care about your shelf full of industry awards.
He cares about his wants and needs. He cares about getting his pressing problems solved. He cares about finding an answer to the thing that keeps him awake at night.
If you want to be wildly successful in selling more of your products, remember this phrase: WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?). It’s one of the fundamental rules of persuasion.
Don’t just remember it. Think about it from your potential customer’s point of view. Put yourself in his shoes.
Why would he want to do business with you and your company? Why would he want to buy what you sell? Believe me, your prospect is asking himself these very things. When he’s thinking about buying your product, he’s wondering “What’s in it for me?”
Since he’s asking himself this, give him the answer he wants. After learning what his problem is (selling is more about asking than telling), tell him how you can solve it. Explain in vivid detail how it benefits him to do business with you.
People buy primarily based on emotion, not logic. So don’t try to sell your product strictly with cold, hard facts (features). Sell with emotion. Paint a vivid “word picture” in which the prospect can see himself really enjoying what your product can do for him.
Forget about what you want. Sell the prospect what he wants. Do this well and you will hardly have to sell. He’ll be extremely eager to buy.
Think how great it would be for your business to sell from a customer-centered perspective. When you ask questions and listen to your prospects, when you demonstrate you truly care about helping your prospects and customers solve their problems, they won’t view you as a nuisance.
They’ll begin to trust you more and will gratefully view you as an ally, a friend. You’ll stand apart from the negative image of the sleazy, pushy, stereotypical “high pressure salesman” that has given the noble profession of selling such a bad name.
In this day and age of social media, millions of people go online and “talk”. A LOT! If they have a bad (or good) experience with a business, word often gets around quickly. Wouldn’t it be awesome for people to be spreading the word about how great it is to do business with you?
So, remember the WIIFM? principle. It’s not about you. It’s not about the thing you sell. It’s about your prospect. Be in business to solve problems, not peddle products. Insist on every transaction being win-win. Think “customers for life”, not “one-shot sales”. Do this and don’t be surprised when your sales (including repeat sales to very happy customers) go through the roof!
Here’s to your success!