Selling features instead of selling me

Posted by on Feb 22, 2013 in Omnichannel

In classical sales training exercises, there are often two camps of strategy: features and needs.

Feature-based selling is knowing the bells and whistles and, most importantly, how your feature set compares to the feature set of others. “You want fast? Well have I got something for you!” We’ve all been there.

Needs-based selling is a bit more complex. As you might have gathered from the name, you have to sell to the specific needs of the customer. That means above all else, you have to successfully extract information. In today’s world, the only way to do that is to create rapport (in the best case) to create a comfortable environment and then ask questions.

The challenge is that to sell to needs well, you have to ask lots of good questions and that takes time and trust. Trust usually is hard to build five seconds after you’ve walked in the door of a store, which is why most sales people revert to selling features. Its easy, you memorize the facts and repeat and repeat and repeat. Sometimes they like your facts and sometimes they don’t. But that’s just the game of sales. Needs-based selling is uncomfortable because many sales people fear rejection from asking questions.

But experience shows that needs based selling is a much better experience for the customer. If you know information about me, you can tell me things I would never think to ask or consider. When I go in and say that I have no idea what phone I should get, how should I decide, the natural reaction is to sell me features. But its very relevant that I’ll only spend 50% of the year in one country. Its relevant that I work in a line of business where NFC is essential. Its relevant that I have little to no interest in apps. But how long do I have to answer his questions? Not long.

What if instead I allowed him to access my Preference Profile to see all this information just while I was in the store. He wouldn’t have to ask me anything, I wouldn’t have to answer the same questions over and over and yet I could get all the benefit of needs based selling when and how I choose to. I wouldn’t be selling my details to the company and could grant temporary access unless I trusted them enough and saw value to transmit them and allow them to be stored. I’m in control but I get a much richer experience from the data that I’ve compiled from all areas of my life.

And, of course, that kind of personalization and simplicity is what we’re all about here at omnichannel.ME