On a recent Saturday morning I spent an hour of my time at my local Best Buy electronics superstore. I was there to continue my quest to find the perfect laptop.
I was hoping to find one that fit the size, memory, speed and price point requirements that buyers like me look for every day.
Best Buy proved to be the ideal environment for me to touch, feel, weigh and evaluate each of these machines. The store was brightly lit; the atmosphere was warm and energetic. Even the array of machines laid out in front of me was impressive to say the least.
I felt comfortable knowing that many of the choices available to me were being adequately displayed and found the overall store experience very “hands on.” After all people generally buy products they can touch and feel.
Now all that was left was for me was to find the Best Buy employee who could help me properly evaluate the choices in front of me and make the final decision to buy today.
Unfortunately, that was easier said than done. I wasn’t able to make the decision that morning, mainly because the employee I found, helpful and informative as he tried to be, couldn’t help me make the case for buying one laptop over the other.
What do I mean by “make the case?”
I’m referring to my personal (buyer) evaluation process whereby laptop A may be proven to be the better choice over laptops B and C. For the majority of us that personal evaluation process consists of understanding:
- the technical specifications (more memory, more speed and a better warranty than the others)
- the reviews from prior buyers (very quickly done online with the help of a smart phone)
- the advice and technical expertise of the store employee
- and of course, the final price.
Where he went wrong will be the subject of a future blog post, but let’s just say I was left with so much “doubt” in my mind that leaving the store and re-thinking my choices was a better decision for me.
However, what I did take away from that one hour experience was the vital necessity of creating a hands-on experience for my prospect and to a certain degree, “bringing the store to the customer.”
Not literally of course. After all I can’t transport the store lighting, atmosphere and the vast array of choices that make for the perfect customer experience to my prospect’s office, but I can bring evidence needed to “make the case” for my product or service.
One example of that “evidence” is the use of a Comparative Analysis.
Designed as a color promotional piece, this extremely effective marketing tool compares your product or service’s features and benefits in relation to your competitors.
This is similar to the “comps” (comparative home values) real estate agents use all the time. A “comp” is a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) that shows the value of similarly sized homes in your neighborhood compared to your home. It is not only educational but allows you and your agent to establish a price for your home that will most likely be considered fair and acceptable by potential buyers.
The Comparative Analysis used by you should be colorful, engaging and simply designed.
Across the top of the page are three, four or five companies (you choose the number), one being you and the others being your competitors. Vertically, along the left side of the page are the features and benefits you want to highlight. This grid design is easy to read and understand.
Naturally your product will always fare better than the others, but if it’s truthful, meaning your facts (features and benefits) are correct, you will not only engage and educate your prospect but separate your product or service from the “other guys” offerings.
Even better, if your analysis intentionally highlights some (but not all) qualities your competitors have that compares to, or are even better than yours, you can lend an air of credibility and dramatically increase the trust factor.
And therein lies part of the problem in selling.
It’s not enough to simply present your product or service and “hope” that you can talk, persuade, convince or cajole your customer into buying. That’s a tough sell, similar to an attorney trying to convince a jury to convict or acquit his client without presenting evidence.
You must come prepared to make the case. Remember, if it’s written it must be true!
Author: Peter Monaghan, CEO of SELLability – The Pro Sales Network, www.SELLability.com
Peter Monaghan is a 30 year Sales & Marketing Veteran and Trainer. SELLability was created with the purpose of empowering business owners and salespeople with the applicable sales & marketing skills necessary to achieving excellence in their chosen fields.
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