Technology is moving fast. It’s way too easy to focus on all the features of the latest device coming out. However few products or services have the ability to sell themselves. It’s important to understand that features don’t sell products or services. Applying the features to meet customer needs and how they will use the features—that sells a product or service.
When I first started college, I worked at Best Buy for two solid years. It isn’t a commission based sales environment but each department and store had goals to reach. I started off as a cashier and one of my responsibilities was to sell Black Tie Protection (BTP), which was an insurance against wear and tear, dust or humidity problems, and even accidents (dropping or spilling water on your product).
Some products resonate immediately because their features solve problems without much push from a sales associate. There are those products/service that require a little convincing. Here are three things I learned from selling the BTP that will help you close a sale:
Get to know your customer
Getting to know your customer is important. Once you know who the product or service is for, why they are getting it, and how they plan to use it, you can apply the features to them on a more personal level.
For example, when a customer would approach me ready to purchase an iPod, I instantly would get excited and talk about how I love my iPod. This would accomplish two things:
- It would let them know that I not only know what the product is but I have used it.
- It would get them excited about the iPod too. This typically would get them to share some backstory as to why they are here and buying the iPod.
It doesn’t matter how you get them to tell you who the product is for, why they are getting it and/or how they plan on using it, any way you can accomplish this is great, but the more subtle the better. The more you know, the easier it will be to apply another product or service—in this case the BTP. At this point I was able to apply the features of the BTP to a situation that applied directly to them.
Who is the product or service for?
Even if you believe in the product or service and know all the features, it doesn’t mean the customer does too. The easiest way to get a customer on your level is to tell them about the features in a way that applies to their situation.
For example, sometimes a mother would come in to buy an iPod for her child. I would pick this up because the child would be standing anxiously ready to get his or here new iPod. At this point I could look at the child and say, “Are you the lucky one getting a new iPod?” The child not being able to hold in the excitement responds with a nod of a head or a yes.
I don’t immediately jump into a sales pitch directed towards the child. I like to begin by giving the 1,000-foot view of how the BTP works. I’d give a short but sweet description of the benefits without giving a price. You can easily see what feature interests them by their response after this.
After finding out what feature interests them most, you need to respond with a more detailed description of that feature along with an example that is applicable. If she is more interested in covering accidents, since it is for a child, focus on that. I would not only go into more detail, I would give a hypothetical situation where the BTP would help them out.
Get used to hearing “No”
In a perfect world, your customer would say yes to the BTP after you applied the features to their situation. Unfortunately, It’s not a perfect world. You are still going to get a “No” more frequently than you are going to get a yes.
When that happens, don’t stop at the first no. People have their guard up when someone they don’t know recommends they spend more money on a product they don’t see any value in, yet. When this happens, pump the brakes, and try a different approach. You could start by going into more details about some of the other benefits of the product or service.
The number one key to sales is to believe in what you are selling. If you don’t believe in what you are selling it’s going to be a lot harder to convince someone they should believe enough to buy it. Don’t be afraid to try out what you are selling to find out what you like and even don’t like about it.
Mike Alder is a University of Utah business marketing student and marketing specialist at Lendio. Passionate about entrepreneurship, small businesses, and inbound marketing. Mike shows his passion by sharing stories of successful entrepreneurs and companies with small business owners on the Lendio blog. He makes these big success stories easy-to-apply in simple and easy to read language for the everyday small business owner and entrepreneur.