As I (Doug) started my new role as a corporate sales trainer for a national company back in 1996, I well remember the philosophy that was to be imparted to all new sales employees. It was critical for me to stress that the services these folks were being trained to sell were defined as the best and top quality. Similarly the company was to always be regarded as world’s best and oldest in its industry.
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full; so I followed those marching orders as I began my new assignment. But it didn’t take long to realize that using words like best and top quality are problematic.
Overuse of adjectives like these in sales presentations creates the perception of products and services being overpriced. Certainly folks want good stuff but they also want to spend the least amount of money possible to acquire them.
Regardless what you sell, in order to get a better understanding of this principle, here is a true story shared by Charlie Greer, a very successful HVAC comfort consultant and now a sales trainer and author in southwest Florida.
“My first year in the business, I was dispatched on a call to provide a quote to a gentleman wanting to add central air conditioning to a home.
When I called to confirm the appointment, he made it clear to me that he had bought the home to flip, that he would never live in it, and that his buying decision would be based solely on price. He said he had no interest in quality, efficiency or the longevity of the equipment. He was adding air conditioning to make the home more marketable.
I was nervous on the way to the call because I’d been trained to make certain that my prospects knew that what we were offering was the best and top quality. Our customers paid a premium price for a premium product with premium service–40% of the time it went well; 60% of the time it didn’t.
I decided that, for the first time ever, instead of bragging about top quality and being the best, I would try to make every word that came out of my mouth something to which the person wanting to spend the least amount of money possible could relate to.
I still stressed the benefits of my product, my design, my installers, and my follow-up service, but I did so from the standpoint of how it saves money.
And it worked. After the call, it occurred to me that I didn’t need to reserve that type of presentation exclusively for people who made it clear up front that they were basing their buying decision on price.
By the end of that year, I had sold more of the most expensive air conditioner units than anyone else in the country. I don’t believe I sold a single one based on the fact that it was the best. I explained to them that investing in that model would have the lowest overall cost of ownership over the life of the equipment.
From that point on I determined that only rich people can afford to buy cheap air conditioners and furnaces.”
So regardless what you are selling, be sure to always confirm with each prospect that (1) they want the work done properly and completely, AND (2) they want to spend the least amount possible. As you present your solution for their situation simply inform them about everything your company does on your installations and completions that your competitors don’t do. Every description of every feature/benefit statement you make should conclude with how that saves them money.
Finally, don’t emphasize saving people money in the long run, which is a mistake many premium service sellers make. Your prospects need to realize they will begin to save on the day the completion or installation is finished.
————Hello from Arizona————
Doug, I really benefit from your weekly dose of sales information and I love the new stuff you come up with. I appreciate you and the time you invest into trying to help us become better sales people. Jen McGinnis, Sales Executive Prescott Valley, AZ.
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