A Sales Example - Moving Away from Being a CommodityBe sure to get additional ideas on delivering your ideas in our latest publication, Persuasive Sales Presentations here.Early in my career, a moving company that specialized in moving older furniture wanted to work with my mentor and me to boost the effectiveness of their salespeople.
So there we were, at the table with the top leadership of this company. After the preliminaries and some early examination, we started digging in to identify the challenges.
“What’s the biggest objection you get?” I asked the sales manager.
The sales manager, the VP of sales, and the president all responded. “Price. We just get killed on price.”
Then my mentor said, “You guys have been in business this long and you’re just getting killed by the competition. There’s more competition than ever before.”
“Yeah, a lot of people are starting to get in our space,” said the sales manager.
My mentor replied, “So what I understand is you specialize more in antiques, older types of things. You don’t do office moving.”
The president chimed in. “Right. We work with estates and that type of thing. Family members of people who have passed away.”
My mentor and I spent a considerable amount of time with this client performing an exhaustive diagnostic session. We questioned every process in their sales model trying to identify what was stopping them from getting to where they wanted to be and why they were getting hammered on price. Remember, if you’re focusing on price, you are playing in the commodities pool. And these guys weren’t selling a commodity service.
Discovering the Unique Selling Proposition
I looked at them. “Look, there has to be something about your business that’s different from everyone else. Is it how you do it?”
The VP of sales shook his head. “No. I mean, moving is moving.”
“Is it how you interact with the people?” I asked.
“No,” said the sale manager. “A lot of this stuff is through a request. We kind of find the address. Then, we do a little bit of a diagnostic, and a little bit of an evaluation.”
“Well, what’s your pricing like?” I asked.
“Well, we’re about 15-20 percent higher than everybody else,” said the VP of sales.
“Okay,” I said, giving it some thought. “Well, how much damage is done… typically… when anybody moves? If I just hired Atlas Movers, is there going to be damage to my stuff?”
“Yeah, there’s always damage,” said the sales manager. “At least 5-10 percent of the contents get damaged.”
“Well, that’s interesting,” I said. “So why are you guys more expensive?”
“We have less damage than anybody else,” said the sales manager.
I sat forward. “Can you prove it?”
“Yeah,” said the sales manager. “We can prove it a little bit.”
Presenting Your Solution With Evidence and Flair
“So, why do you have less damage than anybody else?” I asked.
The owner proudly stepped up. “Lance, it’s because of how we equip our trucks. We actually have three trucks,” he said. “And we have specially manufactured shocks on our trucks that control things around the cobblestones and winding roads in Philly.”
“Can you show me how,” I said.
“This is the way I used to sell them,” he said. “This is what I do.”
Out of his desk he pulled a balloon. He blew it up halfway. “You know what, Lance? This is how we equip our trucks. Our shock system is like this balloon. If you can imagine your contents, the truck is my top hand, the road surface is my bottom hand, and between is that shock. If we hit any bumps or turns, our system absorbs all these blows and reduces damage significantly. We’ll put our money on it. That’s why we charge more.”
I sat up in astonishment. “Do your salespeople sell like that?”
“Well, they talk about it.”
“No, no, no, no, no! Do they show prospects like you just showed me?”
He laughed. “No. They tell me it’s old-school.”
“You guys need to start doing that in your sales presentations, every time.” I said. “People need to understand the difference you bring to the table. The best way to do that is by showing them, like you just showed me.”
Your Solution Includes How You Present Your Evidence
When you get up to present your solution, your sales presentation isn’t just a session to inform your prospect. Your sales presentation is a performance. You have to present with flair and showmanship to capture your prospect’s attention and imagination. Remember, it’s not just what you say, but how you say it!
That’s using evidence and being persuasive. That’s the salesperson delivering a prescription in a way meant to convince.