Traits of Top Salespeople

"Top salespeople are educated: they continually learn to improve their skills and knowledge."

Too Much Information Doesn’t Help Your Prospects

Too Much Information Doesn’t Help Your Prospects

The prospect’s role in the decision-making process is to collect information pertinent to their problems and find a solution to these challenges. Your stated role in this process is to provide information to the prospect that will allow them to purchase your product. Your unstated, but understood, role in this process is to affect the buyer in such a way that your competition loses the order, and you win. You are a combination of an information provider and a decision influencer.

You must give the prospect information to assist them or else they may not see value in you and may not purchase your product. You also must help them eliminate choices that do not benefit you. Therefore you must choose the information that you give them very carefully so that it not only helps them understand the benefits of you, your company and your solution but also helps them understand that your competition’s solution is not a perfect fit. It does not matter if your product is a perfect fit since it is rare for any product to be a perfect fit. You are probably familiar with the adage ‘putting a round peg into a square hole.’ Unfortunately, most prospects do not truly understand what size hole they have, or the shape. Your goal is to make them see that they have a hole that is the size and shape that perfectly accommodates your peg.

Many salespeople will assist in the decision-making process by overwhelming the prospect with too much information about their product or service in the hopes that the prospect will make the decision that they want. How many times have we shopped for hours or days for a particular product (home, stereo, TV, car, etc.) to make sure we understand the pricing schemes and the features and benefits and then end up buying from the last store that we enter? Surely it was not random fate that the first salesperson that we talked to in each case was very incompetent and could not match us up with the perfect product. Rather, what happens is we start the process by gathering information. When we understand the specifications and the issues regarding our planned purchase, we start eliminating choices, then we delve into those few remaining products that we know we like and we make a decision to purchase one. However, we rarely go back to the first person who started the education process – we buy from one of the last few. We are simply too tired to go back to the first person – we have suffered from information overload, and that first salesperson is going to lose the sale. 

You probably have purchased a house/condominium or rented an apartment. Invariably, your search began by driving around neighborhoods that you thought suited your needs. You may have evaluated your financial situation and decided on a price that you could afford. You also probably started looking at properties that might fit your needs and goals. 

In your search for a new living place, it is doubtful that you selected the first place that you visited. Instead, you began to evaluate your options and change your criteria based on the available amenities. You started to look at flooring options, wall coverings, the sizes of rooms, the arrangement of rooms and dozens or hundreds more choices. As you looked, it is likely that you modified your list of needs and goals as you became educated. Eventually, after days or weeks of looking and changing your list, you decided on a place. Most house hunters do not go back to the first few places to compare them to this new, modified list – those properties have lost the sale to you.

So, what does a Trapper salesperson do in this situation? It is almost impossible to get only educated buyers, and in fact, we probably do not want to be in that situation. If we only have completely educated customers, then they will only evaluate us against their pre-determined conclusions and ultimately make a decision on price, terms, and conditions. Instead, you need to position yourself to educate the prospect, but never fully let the prospect leave your control. This applies to all sales situations – the consumer salesperson knows the prospect is going to leave and needs to make sure that the prospect returns. The corporate salesperson knows the sales cycle is going to be long and it is impossible to be at every meeting. So he provides enough information early on to be seen as being valuable, doesn’t want to spend so much time on the company that he can’t close other business, and still wants to make the short list to be involved in the close at the end.

If we only have completely educated customers, then they will only evaluate us against their pre-determined conclusions and ultimately make a decision on price, terms, and conditions.

We know that there are going to be competitors on the deal, so we need to anticipate that they are going to give the prospect information. We need to structure our information as being incredibly valuable so that we are seen to add value to the prospect’s search but at the same time not spend all of our time educating the prospect on all of the minutiae. This is a delicate line, but experienced Trappers learn how to find this balance.

No one makes money by giving out information. So why do we do it? Why are we doing something for free? Simple – because we think we get value out of it. The goal should be to maximize the value that we receive. We do this by breaking our information into Bait. Bait needs to be benefit-based and not feature-based so that it is immediately ‘tasty’ to the prospect. The Bait is big enough to get our point across but not so big as to be confusing. Most importantly, Bait needs to lead to a Trap that makes the prospect think more highly of you, your company, and your product and allows the prospect to see your advantages over your competitors. In chapters six and seven of my book, Eliminate Your Competition, we discuss how to break up features and benefits into Bait.

You may purchase my book, Eliminate Your Competition, from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Photo by geralt (Pixabay)

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