Sell to solve the buyer’s problem, not to seek elusive product perfection

Did you know that your competition sees your weakness as strength? It never ceases to amaze me how, when doing a comparative market analysis, sellers (say, of This Company) are quick to lament thus: “Competitor J’s product has a higher torque than ours”; “Competitor K’s service is priced lower than ours”; and, “Competitor L has lounges for their premium service and we don’t.” “And we lose sales to them because of these ‘superior’ features of their products.”  Here are three reasons why this superiority is fallacious:

First, every product or service has a limitation.  Even yours. There is no perfect product; there is only a perfect buyer. There are plenty of buyers who gleefully admit that, “This Company’s services (or products) are just perfect.”  This doesn’t mean the product has no flaws or inadequacies. What it means is that it solves that customer’s problem-and all such customers that have an identical problem. Those that don’t have that problem and buy the product, will be the first to point out that the torque is low, the price is high and that you don’t have lounges. There is no product or service that is a panacea for everyone. Otherwise, no company would have customer complaints.

Next, the competition sees your weakness as strength. When I do the comparative market analysis with Competitors J, K or L, guess what? They are quick to point out how This Company’s product has greater market acceptance, how they have a faster turn-around time and that they open longer hours. And, yes, “These are the reasons why we lose sales to This Company.” What this means is that the average seller sees the miniscule black dot of a stain on the vast expanse of his white shirt, but sees the expanse of the competitor’s white shirt and not the black dot of a stain. He sees what he doesn’t have and sees it in the competition. It is remarkable the tricks the mind can play on us. Now, if only the seller could focus on what the customer wants and show how his product addresses it, then his sales would definitely increase.

And finally, “Your torque is too slow, your price is high and you don’t have lounges,” many times come as objections from potential buyers. And objections are to be competently handled or pre-empted. Pre-empted by addressing them in your presentation as you show how your product solves the buyer’s problem instead of just rattling off its features. And handled by responding to them. For example: Your price is too high. “Price is what you pay, value is what you get. The value you get with our high product acceptability is that you will not struggle with spare parts as you mentioned you have been (with J’s product).” Handling an objection helps the buyer see the same problem differently.

Are you seeing the enormous white shirt or the tiny black dot?

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