164. The Scary Truth About Your Company's Product
Your product doesn’t matter.
I don’t even care what your product is. No... shush... don’t tell me. I don’t care.
It doesn’t matter.
If you think people are buying your product because of your product, you’re either 1) wrong or 2) a product designer.
I’ve led more than enough sales teams over the years and have generated many millions of dollars of sales to feel confident in my knowledge of effective sales techniques. Here’s the most important thing I’ve learned:
Product isn’t everything.
It’s something. It’s just not everything.
In fact, I have won new clients many times without even showing them the actual product I’m selling.
Selling isn’t About Selling
First of all, let’s all agree that everybody is a sales person. If you think this conversation isn’t about you, think again. I don’t care what your title is and in which department you sit, everybody at a company represents the company.
Employees are the best sales tool a Company has. Each one represents the company culture and its brand, which are two of the most important elements in attracting and retaining customers.
Secondly, customers don’t spend their days thinking about your product. In fact, the more a client thinks about your product, the more likely it means they are frustrated with it.
The product isn’t the point.
The only purpose of sales and retention is this: To solve the customer’s problems.
It’s not about you - it’s about them.
You may have already heard the analogy about the drill bit, but here it is anyway. A guy walks into a hardware store and asks for a 1/2” drill bit. But does he really want a 1/2” drill bit? No he doesn’t. He really wants a 1/2” hole so he can assemble something.
In this case, like all others, it’s not about the product.
Selling is not about selling. Selling is about helping to solve your customers’ problems.
The Best Sales Pitch Isn’t A Pitch
I speak to many salespeople over the course of a year and most of them seem laser-focused on talking about their company and pushing their product. They don’t even try to figure out the problem I’m trying to solve. For them, it’s all about their product, while for me it’s only about my problems.
Trying to sell a product without understanding the customers’ problems is like throwing darts in the dark: it’s hard to hit a target if you have no clue where it is.
The best sales pitch isn’t a pitch. It’s a discovery of why. (See The Five Whys)
Every salesperson, in every new customer interaction, should be focused on answering three simple questions:
1. Why change?
2. Why us?
3. Why now?
In other words:
1. What are the problems you want to be resolved?
2. Why do you think we can help you resolve that problem?
3. Is it critical enough for you to disrupt your business to make a change?
Yes they are simple questions, but it’s only the talented sales people that can elicit the accurate responses.
You see, customers don’t always know what problem they are trying to solve. Nine times out of ten, if you ask a customer that question directly, they won’t know - or share - the answer. “We’re just exploring our options,” you’ll most likely hear.
Getting to the true answer requires finesse and an ability to garner trust very quickly. It requires honesty, empathy, and knowledge of the key issues that plague an average customer.
As I said at the top, it’s not about the product. Customers don’t care about the product and it’s your job to help them realize that.
The best companies don’t sell products, they solve problems.
Maybe it’s time you rethink how you view your company offering.
“Nobody is going to buy from you because you have a quota to meet. They are going to buy from you because they see value in doing so."
- Bob Burg
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This Week’s Book Review
by Madeline Miller
My rating: 9 of 10
For fans of: Mythology, Lost Love, History, Fantasy
Madeline Miller has a wonderfully unique talent for re-creating the lives of the Greek Gods. I’ve tried so many times through so many channels to read and learn about the Greek Gods only to be bored or confused or both. Whenever you try to learn about one, there are 20 other names you have to know in order to understand the story.
Then I read “The Song of Achilles” in which Madeline humanized Achilles as a… read more