Stop Selling Your Products!

February 27, 2012 by  Filed under: Sales 

Before you categorize me as an idiot, please read on.

What is common practice in B2B sales? The sales person meets with the prospect and before you know it he starts throwing around brochures or he fires up good old PowerPoint and let that do the ‘talking’.

In other words, the salesperson forces the prospect to focus on the least interesting part of the conversation, the product. Products are not that interesting anymore. The days that the entire office got excited because a new computer got installed, are long gone. A very small percentage of goods and services get people all excited today, so we should shift our focus to something else.

So, if you should not focus on your product, what should you focus on?

There is one simple but very powerful rule in marketing that can help us answering this question: ‘That what is unique, you have to sell first.’

That does make sense, doesn’t it? If something is really one-of-a-kind and I want it, then my choice is limited to… one. And what is really unique in your sales? Is it your product? Probably not. The majority of products and services have their alternatives. Is it the company you work for? Probably neither. There might be slight differences in approach, conditions, price etc. but by far most companies have competitors who, in general can deliver a resembling product or service.

And how about the salesperson? Bingo! He is unique! Or at least, he should be. A salesperson can make himself stand out from the competition. He can and should make the difference. People buy from people. There is a good reason that many employers want a new employee to sign a non-compete clause. They know that when an employee starts a new job at the competition, chances are big that he will ‘drag’ customers along with him.

And how do I sell myself?

Forgive me for not giving away all my knowledge. I have bills to pay too, you know. But I will list the most important topics you should focus on:

  • Show a genuine interest in your conversation partner and his company/business;
  • Don’t talk so much. You only confirm the bad reputation of a salesperson that way.
  • Start listening. And I mean really listening to what the client has to say. Ask the right questions. If you have a genuine interest in the client, the questions will pop up automatically.
  • Don’t let brochures and presentations take over. They are a tool to help you and should never be leading. Why else are you there? Quite an expensive delivery boy, right?

The whole list has to do with basic sales skills. The first and main thing you should be selling is trust. Knowing everything about your products is great but that knowledge will not make you close the deal. Sales skills do. Train them with the help of the professionals out there.

Once you get used to ‘selling’ yourself first, you will notice that selling your products and services will become a lot easier.

Happy selling.

Kees Scheffel is a management and sales trainer for more than 20 years. He has helped thousands of managers and salespersons to perform better. He is the founder and CEO of Carrera C Inc., an Ontario based organization for training, coaching and Online Assessments.

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