Those of you old enough to remember the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia will recognize his insight in a quote provided by Jeff Thull our Fortune Sales & Marketing Growth Summit keynote speaker and author of Mastering the Complex Sale. Jeff said most of us are working way too hard. He had insights into how to change that, starting with this advice, "you don't want to be the best of the best at what you do." Rather follow Jerry Garcia's observation, "You want to be considered the only one who does what you do." You can build your Brand Promise around an uncommon offering like that.
There's a distance today for most businesses in what the customer understands your product or service can deliver and what you are promising. Your prospects are not buying because they don't believe they have the problem you solve or they don't believe they have the ability to change. Thus the issue is far less about what you sell then it is about how you sell.
The increasing complexity in the marketplace is moving more and more products and services to commoditization. In fact the movement is counter intuitive since you'd think the more complex things are the less they would be commoditized. The result is that most businesses are squeezing margins, revenues and profits.
What's a complex sale? Jeff Thull definition is any business or personal decision in which the individual[s] requires the assistance of outside expertise to:
- Diagnose the Situation
- Design the Solution
- Deliver the Results
Does that apply to your business? The good news is that if it does there is a way for you to increase your value and develop a system to convert prospects into sales at higher margin. The bad news is that unless you discover how to do this you will continually be pulled in the direction of commoditization.
Jeff asked our group: What percentage of your proposal was about your solution, company or future? The purpose is not for you to understand but to help the customer understand their problem. That's why he states that the decision to change or buy is made during the diagnosis with little or no knowledge of the solution.
It may scare you to realize you shouldn't be spending so much time on the solution, or that you have to spend more time asking questions and diagnosing your customer problems; however the reality is that this method of relationship building and sales system takes half the time of the traditional approach to selling.
I'll have more from Jeff's keynote message and insights on how to improve your sales process in future blogs. Eric Keiles and Mike Lieberman, authors of Reality Marketing Plan Revolution, had terrific insights and questions to ask that I'll get to later today in my next blog.