Benefits Alone No Longer Sell

I have written before about dealing with Sceptical People and I suggested you run your communication through the MACHO test… and I think this leads into my assertion that benefits alone no longer sell.

The MACHO Test

Just a reminder the three questions to consider were ...

1)“Have I anywhere in what I’m about to say or write stated or implied that I know something that you don’t know”

2) “Have I anywhere in my words or text stated or implied that you are not perfect in everything you do”

3) “Have I anywhere in this text or my speech stated or implied that someone is more important than you are”

this is from Shelle Rose-Charvet

Mary Kay Ash

Coincidently I ran across a couple of quotes and an article that reinforced this concept and reminded me of another sales practice I thought was very important.

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”

-Mary Kay Ash (from Mary Kay cosmetics)

This ties in quite nicely with Q3 in the Macho Test

“How to Win Friends and Influence People”

Then there’s a famous old quote from Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” …

you can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you

Can I take the liberty of applying this to sales?

“you can make more sales in two months by being interested in other people (and their issues) than you can in two years by trying to get them interested in your product”

And this hints at some of the suggestions that followed in the article I ran across?

Here's the Point

“We live in an era with a heaving buffet of information about customer prospects, their markets, and their businesses at our fingertips. Yet despite this wealth of information available to help us build a case for access to new prospects, sales professionals still struggle to stand out or get noticed."

Too many sellers follow the age-old routine of talking about their product or service and offering up a tempting plate of benefits such as “use our service and double your revenue” and “we will drive more leads to your website.”

What prospect doesn’t want more leads or a 100% increase in revenue?
Just one problem.
These types of generic benefits and hollow promises are coming from everyone, everywhere, all of the time.
Customers are weary.
They don’t believe you.
They don’t hear you.

Face facts.
Benefits alone no longer sell.

Standing out in today’s marketplace requires a laser focus on being the most relevant.
And I mean relevant from the prospect's point of view, not from the seller's.
Buyers crave relevance.
And they’re not getting it because sellers are busy providing generic information about their company, service, or solution, and they fail to position the right attributes in the context of what matters most to the specific buyer.

Replace the Old ABC of Selling

Make the shift from the old-school ABC of Always Be Closing to a new triad of selling ABCs that ensures your relevance in a cluttered business environment.

Always Be Curious.
(This was a forte of mine)

Curiosity is not the simple act of asking questions to get information to make a sale. If you’ve been on the receiving end of one of these mind-numbing fact-finding interrogations, you’ll understand why buyers scurry for cover behind email and RFPs. Every seller is trained to ask questions to discover needs.
This is important, but it’s not enough. And it’s not curiosity.

Curiosity in the context of selling is a genuine interest in deepening your understanding of the people, businesses, and markets you serve.
The “always” in ABC means curiosity is executed before, during, and after any interaction with a client.
Genuine curiosity uncovers insights that enable you to communicate with prospects in ways that are meaningful to them, and that are welcomed, not ignored.

Always Be Contributing.

Many sellers have the same intent: Find a need and close the sale. Always be closing.

It’s this focus on closing that’s causing talented sales professionals to unconsciously lengthen sales cycles and deliver desirable business opportunities to their competitors’ doors.

Every prospecting message, every call, presentation, proposal, and meeting must contribute relevant value. Otherwise, you are simply adding cost, wasting time, and making yourself indistinguishable.
So who defines value?
The receiver. Not the giver.
In order to be relevant to me, you must contribute value by my definition — not yours.

ABC from "To Sell is Human"

And in "To Sell is Human" Daniel Pink introduces his new ABC’s:

These days buyers have many options, lots of information, and the means to talk back, the steamroller approach is a relic.

That’s why "To Sell is Human" introduces the new ABC’s:

A — Attunement

B — Buoyancy

C — Clarity

These three qualities are now essential whether you’re trying to move a prospect to buy a computer system or your daughter to do her homework.

Attunement is the capacity to take another’s perspective, to understand their interests, and to see the world from their point of view.

Buoyancy is the capacity to stay afloat on what one salesman calls an “ocean of rejection.”

Clarity is the capacity to make sense of murky situations, to curate information rather than merely access it, and to move from solving existing problems to finding hidden ones.

And Daniel covers why they are so effective in his book and gives exercises to strengthen each of them.

Wrap Up

It's about being relevant to your prospect and your customer.

It's a bit like school really.

Learn YOUR ABCs and you'll do well.