How To Sell Your Products The Way Apple Sells iPods and the iPhone

iPod Ad

iPod AdYou can sell more of whatever it is you are trying to move if you will quickly abandon any attempt to tell clients any facts, figures, or pricing about what you are selling.

To often sales people do what I call a feature puek.  They rattle of all the facts, prices, in’s & out’s, and we do this and we do that about their product or service.  They want to give the customer information, but information is exactly what the customer does not need in the information age.  All the information they need to make a buying decision is available online for a whopping $0.  Besides if they found you trough an Internet search haven’t they already read the information on your website?

Customers don’t need sales people to give them information, (even if they say)…”I’m looking for some information on…”.

How to sell anything … Tell clients want they want to hear

What they are really after is a story that already lines up with their particular worldview.  A world view is simply a story that a customer has already told herself and believes.  If you can share with consumers a story about your product, that they have already told themselves, that is true, and makes a promise that they believe you can fulfill you have a good shot at making a sale.

How Apple sells iPods and iPhones

Consider the most successful MP3 player in history…the Apple iPod.  Apple did not invent the MP3 player, instead they just told a better story to the people who were already inclined to believe it, then those people told their friends.

  • World view: I’ve got a huge music collection that I’d like to listen to when and where I want to.
  • Story: 10,000 songs in your pocket.  For Mac or PC

No facts, no figures, no advertised price, just a story told to a consumer who already shares that world view.

Which Sales Profile Wins Most Often

In a world of hesitant, risk-averse, empowered customers, what sales profile consistently wins?

That’s the question the folks over a CEB (The Corporate Executive Board Company) asked themselves.  So they conducted a survey of more than 6,000 sales people across a wide range of industries and in multiple geographic territories.  Their research uncovered 5 sales profiles that people fit into.  Here they are:sales profile

  1. The “Problem Solver” – Detail orientated, reliable, and naturally drawn to solving client issues. The Problem Solver excels at handling the post-sale service issues that can harm a client relationship.
  2. The “Relationship Builder” – Focused on serving the customer. This profile is adept at building and nuturing customer relationships by being highly accessable to customers and responsive to thier specific needs.
  3. The “Challenger” – The debater on the team. The Challenger has a deep understanding of the customer’s business and isn’t afraid to share their view. Assertive in dealing with internal and external stakeholders. Tends to push people out of their comfort zone.
  4. The “Lone Wolf” – Self confident. This profile follows their own instincts instead of the rules.
  5. The “Hard Worker” – Always willing to go the extra mile. This person is self motivated and does not give up easily. The Hard Worker seeks out feedback and tries to identify opportunities for improvement.

Question: Of these 5, which do you think is the most effective at closing business?

If you’re like most people you likely think that its the “Relationship Builder”.  Common wisdom says that the sales rep with the best relationships always wins.  There’s no disputing that building relationships with customers is important – but is this enough?

Findings for the most effective sales profile

  • The “Challenger” – 39% – The Clear Winner!!
  • The “Lone Wolf” – 25%
  • The “Hard Worker” – 17%
  • The “Problem Solver” – 12%
  • The “Relationship Builder” – 7%

Turns out that the most effective sales profile is the “Challenger” and by a fairly large margin.  But why?

The answer lies in the idea change.  Simply things have changed.  It’s no longer sufficient to simply have good relationships.  Top performers are “Challengers” who force their customers to think outside box, push for creative solutions, and get their clients to realize they have problems they did not know they had.

“Challengers” are 10x better for complex sales according to CEB.

3 Things “Challengers” do different

  1. Challengers keep the level of contact at a high level.  Which means they find ways to continue to communicate with the decision makers.
  2. Challengers keep the perceptions wide.  Ever had a client do business with a competitor simply because they did not know that you provided the product of service.  That’s referred to as a narrowing perception.
  3. Challengers make customers want to talk to them first.  By challenging the customer, coming up with ideas, the “Challenger” is the person the customer wants to talk to first.  The “Challenger” is the trusted adviser.

Learn more about CEB’s research on which sales profiles wins the most.  Here’s a link to where you can buy their book.

 

 

Automotive Marketing Still Stinks

Deceptive automotive marketing stinks and consumers are fed up with it

My wife and I are in the market for a second car.  At least she is, which means I am.  A few weeks ago she noticed a lease special advertised on the website of Ardmore Toyota.  The ad was for a Toyota Camry LE lease with $0 and $189 per month.  Just what my wife was looking for.

We rushed in ready to sign a deal.  When we got there here is what we discovered.

  1. The advertised price is only for recent college graduates (was in the small print but we did not read it).
  2. The car advertised does not have electric seats and unfortunately they did not carry that car (not we don’t have it stock…we don’t even order it!)(So even if we were recent college graduates they still could not have lived up to the promise of the ad.)
  3. The nice shinny car in the pictured in the ad was not the LE but the more expensive SE version. With a clearly different set of lighting options that were not available on the actual car they had for lease.

It seems the whole point of this ad was to get people into the dealership with the promise of something the dealership did not even have to sell, to then sell them something a bit more expensive.  Which would be OK with me if they could have actually sold me what the ad promised.

Once there the standard twisting of trying to get us to lease a slightly more expensive vehicle went on for some time.  And of course we were assured they were offering us their best deal possible (does anyone believe that any more?).

We decided not to lease the car and left.  For the next 3 days I received calls from the General Manager making me increasingly better offers on the same vehicle they had assured me while in the dealership they were offering me their best price.

What we really want

As I think through this it’s not really another car we are in the market for.  What we really want is an automotive retailer we can trust. The actual vehicle matters much less.

I’m not lumping all automotive marketers in the same boat

I do realize that all retail automobile dealers don’t engage in such glarringly deceitful advertising.  In fact we’ve had a very pleasant relationship with Martin Honda whose January ad for a lease special was exactly what they offered.

Word to the wise marketer

Consumers want to trust their auto dealers and anyone else they buy from.  Get caught lying to them and you run the risk of ending up the subject on some guys blog with an army of readers and not just losing his trust and business but his tribes as well.

6 Reasons firing clients may make sense

Firing clients may have the short term draw back of lowering the bottom line, but could pay off huge in future Donald Trump You're Fireddividends.

If you think you may have to fire a client keep in mind the words of Maya Angelou who said

When someone shows you who they are…believe them….the first time.

Although this advice is most often applied to personal relationships between individuals there is something here for businesses and entrepreneurs to learn as well.

We can easily substitute the word ‘someone’ for the phrase ‘a client or a customer’.  Some clients are simply not worth the trouble and they need to be fired.

Here are 6 reasons you might want to consider firing clients.

  1. They are not profitable.
  2. They are profitable but are to much of a drain on your resources, and it causes you to produce sub par work.
  3. No matter what you do they’re never happy.
  4. There’s undue stress in the relationship.
  5. You have a moral issue with the clients line of business (think Phillip Morris).
  6. The client constantly price shops you or wants for free things you did not contract to perform.

Firing clients is a decision you should not take lightly.  However, you may find yourself in a situation where you seriously have to consider it.  When the time comes remember Maya’s words….and don’t expect your client to change.  Look them square in the eye and give them a Donald Trump…“You’re Fired!”

Jesus loves stupid marketers too

John 21:6 describes a biblical event in which Peter and several others had fished all night and caught no fish.  Jesus instructs them to cast their net on the right side of the boat, which they do.  Following these seemingly irrelevant instructions the fishermen catch so many fish that they could barely haul it in.

So what’s the simple message that marketers can learn from this story?  YOU NEED A NET!!!

Fishing without a net is plain stupid

Imagine if the men had gone fishing without a net.  It would not matter that they had a boat, a team, or that the water was loaded with fish.  To have gone fishing without a net to catch the fish would have been simply dumb.

You are a fishermen…of sorts

You’re fishing for clients, and it’s equally dumb for you to fish without a net as it would be for actual fishermen to fish without one.  But don’t worry…Jesus loves stupid marketers to…and has provided free nets 🙂

What’s your net?

So what’s the net for marketers?  It’s your CRM software.  In case you’re unfamiliar with the term CRM stands for Customer Retention Management.

Why you need a net

I speak with business owners and sales people every day who are struggling to make their numbers.  When I ask them how they track their leads, I’m flabbergasted to hear things like: I write them on a notepad, they are in an Excel spreadsheet.  What – Jesus Christ!!!

Consider this – a sales person, marketer, business, non-profit, or you fill in the blank with a 10% close ratio who needs to close 100 sales a year to make ends meet needs to do 1,000 proposals.  Not to mention that to do 1,000 proposals you need to likely talk with twice as many leads.  How can you keep up with communication streams, follow up activities, to do lists, etc for 2,000 leads and 1,000 prospects on a sheet of paper or Excel spread sheet.  You can’t.

You’re fishing without a net and that’s just plain dumb.

Free nets – Yea!

There are many different CRM tools on the market.  SalesForce.com is the wolds most popular…and expensive cloud based tool.  There are others like Sugar CRM and ACT which you can load on your computer.  However Zoho offers a CRM tool, it’s their basic version, that you can use for absolutely free.

When I worked in the mortgage industry I used the free version while I was building my book of business at Wells Fargo.  Once I was making enough in commissions and needed more than the free version offered I upgraded to the paid version…a whopping $12 a month.

Don’t be stupid…get a free net!