This article first appeared on October 15th, 2012.
As long-time readers will know, I firmly believe sales leaders and start-up chief executives need to go into the field for sales meetings.
During one such call, I went along with an enthusiastic young salesperson to meet a potential customer.
I certainly couldn’t fault the young charge for their enthusiasm. It was like someone turned the volume on their personality to 11 and stuck it there with superglue, then nailed it in place for good measure.
However, the content of their sales presentation was a different matter entirely:
“These Taskmaster brand widgets come with a 12 month warranty! And they’re built from industrial grade materials! They’re upgradeable! They’re expandable! Plus they’re interoperable! They come in five colours and 17 great flavours! And…” says the young salesperson.
You could see the potential client’s eyes glaze over. They gave a look that says they might be willing to buy a widget if only to end this torturous torrent of features.
What this young salesperson was doing is known as “feature bashing” – rattling off a list of product features without stopping to explain how that feature might benefit a customer or the value it represents to their business. Especially in IT sales, the never ending list of megapixels, acronyms, gigabytes and megahertz is an all-too-common phenomenon.
Of course, you probably won’t be too surprised to learn this salesperson’s attempt at deal-making by attrition didn’t end in a sale. The young salesperson learnt a valuable lesson.
Pick a couple of key product features and then relate them back to the needs of the customer instead of listing them all off. Similarly, if any of your young salespeople feature bash, make sure you give them the sales coaching they need to break the habit.
Get it done – today!