Stop Banging Your Head on the Door – Sell Your Technical Offering in a Smarter WayApril 06, 2016 | By Wayne O'Neill
Say you step into an elevator. The doors close.
You begin banging your head on that door.
Eventually, the elevator moves – and when it stops, that door opens up.
Do you believe that banging your head against the elevator door is what caused it to open?
This is how many people approach selling technical products and services. They bang their heads on a bunch of doors – they walk clients through demos, fill out RFPs – and some of those doors open.
So they keep banging their heads on doors.
This is procurement mentality. It’s not going to get you the long-term results you’re after.
Here’s what to do instead.
Helping Clients Make the Decision to Buy
With procurement mentality, you think, “If I can just explain how cool my mousetrap is, everything will work out fine.” Or, “If I could just explain how experienced I am and the client can see how long my resume is, everything is going to work out fine.”
And clients play their parts in this. They ask you for the technical details of your mousetrap. They ask you about your experience and request your resume. And they take notes when you walk them through all of this!
But this is just a cruel game that gets played unwittingly by both sides.
What the client really wants to say is, “Sell me on this. Tell me exactly what the impact of your mousetrap is going to be on my job, my team, my everyday life.” They are thinking this, feeling it – they just don’t know how to put words to it.
Explaining your offering from a technical or detail-focused perspective is not wrong. But it doesn’t actually help the client because that’s not how people make decisions.
People make decisions by understanding what difference the product or service is going to make to them personally. It’s often a gut feel. There’s a cynical aspect to it, an underlying notion of “What’s the why, here?”
So relating the impact of an offering – delineating the why for the client – that’s what gets past the client’s cynical brain and through to their gut, which is really the decision-maker.
We human beings are actually quite reptilian in how we make decisions! We don’t like to acknowledge that, but it’s the truth. If you can’t get to the why, to the impact of your offering, you’re going to lose the client even though that client is nodding their head.
And neither of you will even be able to put into words exactly what happened. It just didn’t “feel” right to the client.
The Myth We Buy Into – and the Truth You Need to Hear
There’s a myth most people – sellers and clients alike – have bought into. It’s that the standard sales process for technical offerings is one of these two scenarios:
- Vendor goes in and gives a demo to client.
- Vendor sends specifications and diagram to client.
- Client buys.
- Client writes a request for proposal.
- Vendor fills out RFP, complete with square footage, software requirements or other technical specifications.
- Client buys.
That’s both completely untrue and completely sick. See, in both of these scenarios, the buyer and seller are “collaborating” in a way that they don’t understand. They’re following “protocol,” and nothing is actually getting done – neither of them are connecting at all or building any kind of profitable relationship. It’s an illness I see every day.
The difficult reality is the need for a conversation about impact. The seller has to uncover how their offering actually makes a difference for the client. A lot of research and preparation goes into it. Then the buyer and seller actually have to have that conversation.
Creating an RFP and filling it out are easier tasks. But they won’t get you long-term, profitable results.
The Bottom Line
This is why a capture plan is so important. It’s a connection tool – the start of a mapping process. It helps sellers understand how their offering actually makes a difference to the client, then helps the seller converse with the client in a way that actually aids their decision-making.