Category Archives: value versus price

Sales Advice from Baseball Legend Ted Williams?

tedwilliamsAs you may know, Ted Williams was a star player for the Boston Red Sox from 1939 through 1960, except for the three years he spent in World War II… and one of his many nicknames was, “The Best Hitter that Ever Was!”

In fact, in 1941 he posted a .406 batting average, making him the last Major League  player to bat over .400 in a season.

So, you may be wondering how Mr. Williams might provide some solid advice for sales professionals…

Well, the story goes that one day a young newspaper reporter ran into Ted at a train station… as you can imagine, the youngster was quite impressed and found himself rambling on about what an “honor it was… meeting the best batter in baseball… and so on and so on…” And then he said to Ted Williams, “Gee Mr. Williams, you must be a great student of hitting.”

To which Ted replied, “No son, I’m a great student of pitching!”

Tying this into the sales process, as sales professionals we must understand both the selling process and the buying process; we must learn why people might be most likely to buy-in to our ideas and proposals, and then structure our presentations to match that thinking process.

Along those lines, in his book, “The Anatomy of Persuasion,” author Norbert Aubuchon shared his research on defining the buying or “buying-in” process. He identified the following five steps:

  1. NEEDS – a buyer has an unsatisfied need, either recognized or unrecognized
  2. RECOGNIZE – a buyer recognizes the need, and makes it a priority; the buyer is willing to act
  3. SEARCH – the buyer seeks information on how to satisfy the need
  4. EVALUATE – the buyer matches the information with requirements and rates the results
  5. DECIDE – positive ratings usually result in a buying decision; negative ratings result in continued search

Interestingly, these steps align nicely with the steps for selling a product or service, which are outlined in our previous post!

 

“Foreshadow” to Build Value During Sales Calls

fortune_cookie_message2In a recent post we referenced the cardinal selling-sin of making premature presentations during sales calls.

These “premature” presentations sound like old-fashioned sales pitches that are based more on “what we offer” rather than “what you’ll get.”  In other words, they are feature-rich and benefits-poor.

Good Intentions / Bad Results
In many instances, a sales person’s good intentions can lead to a premature presentation. This happens when a buyer’s need or problem surfaces and the seller “rushes” to the rescue by immediately offering a solution.

Despite the good intention, the result is usually bad because the sales person has not taken the time to establish the true value that might well be associated with the solution.  Yet the urge to satisfy the buyer is strong, and can be tough to resist…

A better course of action is to use the technique of “foreshadowing,” which allows the seller to provide some instant satisfaction to the buyer while still holding-off on going too far before confirming that the solution will be the right one and also confirming the buyer’s receptivity level.

A simple method of foreshadowing would involve the sales person saying something like, “Wow! Based on what you’ve just told me I think you’ll really like our solution… but before I tell you about it, can you tell me a little more about the impact of this problem…?”

This approach is truly win-win, as both parties are able to recognize that something good is coming (something of value!), but the seller is still able to probe further into the situation before presenting the solution in full. This enables the seller to uncover or confirm the implications of the need, to measure the buyer’s initial reaction, and hopefully, to quantify the benefits and value that the soon-to-be-explained solution will provide.

If all goes well, the result will be a happy buyer as well as a happy seller!