There was a time when the human race did not have the Internet. This was called the "1970's". I was a child then, and it was miserable. A home computer with one floppy disk drive cost $4 million. This is why my dad had armed guards outside his study.
At that time, your house had one phone that weighed 16 pounds and could be used as a murder weapon.
Let's say my dad wanted to buy a new vacuum cleaner. He would use the phone to call The Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Company of North Canton, Ohio. In those days, the Hoover salesperson could just make stuff up about his product to make it sound better.
He might say: "Our Model A will suck 100% of harmful bacteria out of your home in just 3-minutes.
Although this sounded impressive, it also sounded very unlikely.
But what was dad going to do .... call BS on the well respected Hoover Company?
Today, things are totally different.
Now, if you embellish the facts about your product, the buyer will know immediately. In many cases, they are fact-checking you on their smartphone while you are talking.
1. They research your product and company on the web before talking to you.
2. In most cases, they already know how your products stack against the competition.
3. The only reason they want to talk to you is to verify a few features, and then to grind on price.
First, you need to stop using the typical "Always Be Closing" - style of sales pitch which goes something like this:
- Why we're better
- Trial close
For large deals, and sophisticated buyers, this doesn't work any more. Today, you have to show the Buyer some respect. Try this instead:
Step 1. Describe The Problem your product solves
Step 2. Next you're going to describe the solution, but before you do, admit that other companies solve the same problem. Tell the buyer that some of those other companies are pretty good. That they have good and useable products.
Step 3. Then, briefly and clearly explain that, while those other companies have good solutions, your company has a totally different approach. That your solutions are so different from theirs, that a typical buyer will either like one or the other. I'll give you an example of this script:
"Many companies make good hammers. Sears makes good ones. So does Home Depot. You can happily pound nails with those, and never complain. And if you lose one of theirs, so what, you just buy another. If you're looking for a cheap, effective hammer, that's what you should buy.
Our Estwing hammers are a totally different kind of product. They are for tradesmen and craftsman. They are formed to fit the human hand and wrapped in leather, are forged to absorb vibration and are often passed from one generation of tradesman to another.
So if you want cheap & good, use the other guys. But if you want a tool that is for a tradesman who takes pride in his work, you're going to like the products we make."
Step 4. NOW, you've reframed the competition as merely "adequate," and you can introduce your product in full. You have high status, differentiation and credibility. At this point, the buyer is not just collecting facts from you and focusing on price, he's paying attention. Here's what you've accomplished with this pattern:
- You aren't acting like the typical (and annoying) ABC sales-type
- The buyer respects you as a credible expert
- And he is paying attention to you and the advice you're giving
Here's the pattern your need to use, summarized:
1. Introduce the Problem you solve, but hold off on the Solution.
2. Admit other companies have good products
3. Reframe those other companies as totally different and merely adequate
4. Only then, Introduce your Solution with features & benefits
About the author
If you’re interested in more, head over to pitchanythingedge.com. This site is the online companion to my book, and I give many examples of all this in action for all kinds of products and deals including technology, websites, financial services, real estate, start-ups and healthcare.