What’s one question that can make any sales professional freeze?
“Why should I buy from you?”
Several years ago, I was on a sales call with a pleasant customer and I felt quite at ease on the call. That’s not always the case. You can usually anticipate a little anxiety on a first call.
You wonder, “What will they be like?” “Will they accept what I have to say?” Will they be friendly or abrupt, talkative or quiet, skeptical or trusting?”
It’s our job to navigate the conversation and to demonstrate our value so that they are ready to move to the next step in the sales cycle. But that doesn’t always happen.
During this appointment, I was surprised when he stopped me during my presentation and said, “I just have one question for you.” I asked, “What would that be?”
“Why should I buy from you?”
“I believe we have the best quality products in the industry with the most responsive service.”
The customer’s answer?
“Everyone one of your competitors say the exact same thing. But I haven’t heard anything in terms of specifics. Can you give me a few?”
That’s all the customer heard. I froze. I did not have a unique differentiator that could set us apart from our competitors and I knew that my charm just wasn’t going to cut it!
In the book The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamsonthey assert the following: “Why should our customers buy from us over anyone else?”
It’s disarmingly simple. But that one question can take your entire leadership team to a very dark place as you realize how hard it is to articulate such value. Typical answers like being “innovative,” “customer-focused,” and “solutions-oriented” don’t count.
And for the few companies that can answer it, fewer still would find consensus across their entire sales force.
The key to winning a customer over, according to Dixon and Adamson, is to “reframe.” “What data, information or insight can you put in front of your customer that reframes the way they think about their business-how they operate or even how they compete?”
You have to know your customer’s business almost as well as they do. They want you to offer:
- Valuable perspectives in their market
- Give them alternatives to consider
- Provide them ongoing consultation
- Help them avoid land mines
- Educate them on new issues and outcomes
When you provide this type of value, you have your unique differentiator. So even with intense competition saying “we can do that for you also”, you’ll stand out.
The differentiator is you. That’s one of the reasons that I believe the sales profession will never be obsolete.
As the authors suggest, you must be able to reframe what the customer is saying into a perspective they have not considered. Your knowledge of their company, their industry and competition is priceless when you help them solve problems and achieve success in ways they haven’t thought of.
In addition to the benefits of your offering, you are part of the value add for your customer.
The next time your customer asks, “Why should I buy from you?” respond by asking, “I believe it’s because I have a perspective on your business you might not have considered. Would you like to hear about it? ”