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Selling Value in a Feature-Rich Society

People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.
~ Theodore Levitt

Mr. Levitt is credited with (among other things) giving us this popular anecdote, succinctly explaining that buyers aren’t interested in the ways and means, they’re interested in the end result.

With technology becoming more and more ingrained into business processes, sales teams have begun to mimic the sales techniques of their IT providers – offering features, versus benefits and values. For those that may not be familiar with the distinction between the two, here’s a quick lesson – features talk about the product or service; while benefits talk about the gains or results the end-user will receive from using the product or service. More simply put, features focus on you, while benefits focus on your prospective clients.  (more…)

When You Should Avoid Asking Yes/No Questions

My biggest pet peeve is callers who ask questions where the only logical response is either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – also known as close-ended questions.  Decision makers are more intelligent than many companies realize, and they can see through qualifying questions, and manipulate their responses to avoid sales calls.  Asking close-ended questions can be a powerful part of a sales call, but only if used at the proper times and in the correct way.