There are three basic ways to sell anything. There’s the unenlightened way, which an awful lot of entrepreneurs adopt instinctively. It’s almost always wrong.
There’s a semi-enlightened way, which I estimate will boost your success rate by a factor of 10. But there’s an even more enlightened strategy, which could boost your conversion rate another ten times over. If I’m doing my math right, that’s a potential hundred-fold increase in your sales efficiency--all from connecting with customers and recognizing what motivates them most.
The rookie error: Sell product features
Most salespeople instinctively talk about product attributes and all the bells and whistles their awesome product affords. Emotional connection? Who needs that? Well, you do: If you can’t connect to your customers heartstrings, your sales pitch is about as exciting as technical spec sheet. To see what I mean, let’s consider product-feature sales pitches for three different hypothetical businesses (all named after yours truly):
Step one of enlightenment: Sell benefits.
Stop talking about yourself and the attributes of your product. Instead, get inside your customers’ head and figure out why they would want a product or service like yours. Then describe how what you have to offer will deliver that, and more. See how much more persuasive this is:
The enlightened way: Sell pain relief.
Benefits are a great sales hook, but your customers can, if necessary, live without them. (They have so far, after all.) But when you present yourself as a cure for the pain they face in their lives, you’re addressing what matters most. Show clients how you can solve their pain, and they’ll be lining up to buy.
For example, think about the last time you had a throbbing headache in the middle of the night. You’d do just about anything to stop the pain. You’d get in your car, head to the nearest pharmacy and pay top dollar for some high-powered aspirin. Selling benefits, by contrast, is like selling vitamins:. They’d nice to have but you’re not going to get up at 3am to run out and buy some. So ask yourself: Is your company selling aspirin or vitamins?
Let’s try this approach with those same three hypothetical businesses:
Listen closely to your customers to find out what really causes them pain. Then, make sure you connect emotionally to that pain and link your product to removing those bad feelings. In other words, find people with headaches, and sell them aspirin. Maybe you won't literally improve your results a hundred fold over the base rate of selling product features. But the improvement will be great enough that you won't really care.