This is a classic sales book going back about 20 years. In that time, customers really haven't changed, people still think of Sales as a bipolar relationship whereby you're meant to be 'friendly' whilst taking advantage of the customer. Whether it's a product to a business (eg. HP high-end servers) or to a consumer (eg. Kobe's latest basketball shoes), or it's actually a service (like a travel agent, or an airline), the mindset should be the same: offer tremendous value, and make sure the price comes well below that value.
Okay, before I get too deep in the marketing speak. Here Value is 'all the ways you can make the customers life easier/better by using your product.' This is awesome if you can put a dollar value amount on it.
So that's it, and the salesman's job is to rattle off enough features that turn into (in the customer's mind) 'value', right? Nope. Actually the popular approach of just listing features (or reading them to the customer!) doesn't really work. It's like you're speaking Swedish, and you're expecting your prospect to be able to do the translation himself. He doesn't want to, he wants to talk to someone who will do the translation for him'either you or.. one of your competitors.
It turns out that features are only really interesting on very simple, low-end products. Cheap products or commodities rely on features to differentiate themselves (or, shall we say, de-commoditize themselves?). Do you want the red pen or the blue one? Should it be re-fillable? Does it have a comfortable rubberized grip? Ok. Done. These are decisions that you can make in a few seconds, and don't need to consult anyone over.
But if you have any success at all in sales, you'll want to move on to bigger and better products, where the commissions are nice and fat. If you bring that 'feature' based approach with you, you won't last. All 'listing features' does is increase your customer's expectation of a higher and higher price, getting you away from the value-based approach. Turn the attention to the customer.
Rackham breaks down the research and the new method of Spin selling. Yes, you have to do a little research before sitting down with each customer, but it's worth it. Link the questions to value, get the customer to think about what might go wrong, and how much the solution is worth to them. Sales skills are important in every job. Persuasion is important to everybody. Value is important to everybody. This isn't really about money, it's about listening to people. Your task, whether you're selling a car, or persuading your friends to go to a particular nightclub is not to shoot down alternatives (competition, other nightclubs) but to ask the questions that will elicit values. You get people to declare their needs clearly, and then offer them the solution (eg. your product).
This isn't about tricking people into buying bad products. This isn't a fight, and it's not something to be nervous about. It's not about hypnosis, and it's something you should be ashamed of. Your job is not even about money, it's about communication. What you really want to do is analyse the customers situation and find multiple ways your product can benefit them. After having done that, hopefully the value is much higher than the ticket price. If it is, you shouldn't have trouble closing the sale.
Not only do you sell the product, you sell yourself in this way when you're looking for a raise, or applying for a new job. This is the core of decision making, and what value means to people. Showing others the tremendous value that is already right there in front of them.
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