April 13, 2009

How tangible are the benefits of your solution?

Most salespeople struggle to move beyond adjectives in selling their solutions. This greatly limits their effectiveness.

Relying on adjectives, as opposed to more meaningful and tangible evidence of benefits, limits the impact of their proposition, in most cases making it almost indistinguishable from competitors. Here is an example:

Our customers achieve significant savings as a result of implementing our solutions

That sounds pretty bland, right? It sounds like what most of your competitors would say. Significant savings is vague and somewhat unconvincing. It does not grab attention, or represent a compelling reason to buy, or at least explore buying.

Now change the message slightly, as follows:

Our customers, including; companies A, B and C, have achieve savings of up to 20% as a result of implementing our solutions

The impact is a lot greater, right? First off, there are companies mentioned, that adds credibility and 3rd party validation. Then the benefit are tangibilized, even quantified. That tells customers exactly what to expect.

Now, many salespeople will say customers wont believe the statistics (a point we discuss in another article). But, assuming that it is true and veritably so, that depends on how it is used. It should be merely a reference point, with the salesperson saying ‘…this is what other customers have achieved, we would be delighted to explore with you whether this can be achieved by you…’

It is also worth bearing in mind:

- That when you mention a statistic you have to be able to convincingly back it up, with reference to the experiences of your other customers and to a business model, or spreadsheet.

- Take care with the figure you use. Dont use a figure that will sound incredible to the prospect, even if you need to pare your figure back a little.

In age where brochureware gets binned quicker than you can say marketing blurb, we help many companies increase the effectiveness of their sales messages and materials. We are always surprised that our clients struggle most to provide any quantification of the benefits delivered for other customers.

Managers can easily provide long list of features and feature-led benefits, but succinct statements of the impact on key customer business metrics are a challenge. In our view this points to the need to get closer to their customers.

The conclusion: if you want to want to grab your prospects attention and keep them reading - quantify the results that your solutions have achieved for other customers. The rest of the sales process is then focused on the salesperson and prospect exploring how he/she can achieve the same, or a similar result.

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