By Tibor Shanto – firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the big Canadian banks, we’ll call them the Green bank, has a current radio ad that I believe holds a great lesson for sales people.
In the ad, a customer of a competing bank, is complaining to a competing bank manager that all he got for switching to the bank was a toaster, “I already have a toaster; and it doesn’t even toast bagels. I am a grown man, I have a toaster”, he proclaims.
At this point I am thinking what a great way for Green to highlight how they focus on your unique needs, how their offerings address the real requirements of Canadians, and how there is greater depth to their banking relationship than a mere utensil. Surely they are not going to pretend that they can bribe us with a toaster or other kitchen appliance.
Well I was half right. They were offering a 7” tablet. I was wrong thinking that they may actually talk to things that are really important in these days of economic woe, helping one save, creative mortgages, proactive retirement options, and more. But no, given the opportunity they offered up not quite a toaster, but a tablet, how 2013 is that? And that is the half that I was right about, it wasn’t a kitchen appliance, but one you can use in the living room, bathroom or probably everywhere.
Some sellers fall into to the same trap, getting so focused and blinded by their needs, their agenda, and their world view, that the buyer and their reality are just incidental to the process. Many of the questions posed, assumptions made, benefits highlighted during the sale, have more relevance to the seller, their marketing department and company, leaving the buyer underwhelmed, disappointed and looking for alternatives. That was my thought, if this is the best Green can offer as alternative to Blue, Red or Black, what’s the point? If their response to the old practice of enticing clients with old school utensils, is to offer up a new school utensil, than why would I switch, why would your customer?
As sellers we need fix our lens on the buyers’ objectives and priorities, and work with the buyer towards those ends. It sounds straight forward, but continues to be a challenge. I am part of many call plans and reviews, and time after time, sellers commit to the obvious, but then try to retrofit the buyer into their product or solution, rather than helping the buyer understand how their objectives, the buyer’s, can be achieved using our offering. This requires a bit more effort since you first have to surface the objectives, but it is doable, especially if you have sold similar things to similar buyers. But despite the modern veneer, sellers often fall into pitch mode, feature benefit, and some form of price concession at the end. I bet some would just love to have a trunk full of toasters to hand out with each next step or close.
Sadly for Green, I already have a tablet, a 10”, and a mediocre Blue bank, only a few shades darker than Green.
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