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The comparative test
The next test of proposition is to find out how it compares with your competition? What are real advantages to customer of your proposition against competition? What are values of your company and proposition versus competition? How do these values support and relate to marketing claims of product or service? How do these values support price? The elevator test
This is 30-second explanation as to why customer should invest his time in listening to your proposition. The sales person should really be able to pass this test. It should feel both natural and smooth. The salesperson should ooze confidence, enthusiasm and knowledge as to what’s advantageous and distinctive about your company, product and services.
Why not try this out with three people from your organisation to see what happens? The question could be: “Tell me very briefly why I should buy from your company?” Remember they should be able to support their claims with strong proofs if asked to do so.
The reference and proof test
How many of your salespeople have information to hand about positive reference stories supporting claims of proposition? The stronger proof of proposition stronger case for it to be accepted. The spectrum of proof varies from weakest, which is an unsupported verbal claim, to proof of someone with credibility personally using product or service.
This reminds me of a true story about a glass company that launched a new range of toughened glass products. The product was given to all salespeople but one particular person achieved disproportionate sales success. The Managing Director called him for a discussion to find out why he was so successful. He explained that after finding out what customer needed he presented his proposition and took out a large hammer from his briefcase, put glass on table, and hit it as hard as he could. This proof convinced customer to buy by supporting claims of proposition.
The Managing Director in response bought all sales team hammers and built this process into their sales approach, but at end of second year same salesman sold more toughened glass than any other salesperson.
He was again called into Managing Director’s office to explain what he was doing to make him top salesperson again. The salesman replied “I knew you would be supplying all salespeople with a hammer so I considered how I might make my proof stronger. I decided I would take hammer out of case put glass on table and ask customer to hit glass with a hammer”. Can you see power of proofs in convincing customer to buy?
The pricing test
How many salespeople and business managers can defend price of their product or service by understanding and articulating proposition supported by advantages, proofs and value to customer? The greater value of product or service to customer easier it is to protect price and retain profit margin. Remember (V) Value Added to customer = (B) Benefits minus (C) Cost.
How many companies set their pricing by looking at value of proposition being delivered to customer? I have attended many meetings where Finance Director sets pricing based on profit margin he requires rather than looking at value to customer. Concentrating on preparing, well-constructed propositions can add significant profit to bottom line and increase customer satisfaction by convincing customer of real value of purchase.
The differentiation test
Why is your product or service different to competition’s? The more differences you have that are advantageous to customer more you can place a premium on price. If you can’t highlight any differences why should customer buy from you?
If your sales people, business managers and directors are unable to understand, articulate and present your sales propositions in a professional, consistent and coherent manner with knowledge and enthusiasm then your marketing investment may be leaking like a burst water pipe.
A professionally crafted sales proposition that is delivered to customers in a consistent manner, with thought and enthusiasm, supported by knowledge and understanding of product or service as to how it will be of advantage to customer will increase sales, profitability and increase return on your marketing investment.
·Who has responsibility for Sales Propositions within your organisation? ·How well constructed are your Sales Propositions? ·How good are skill levels within your organisation in terms of understanding customers’ needs and wants and presenting your sales propositions in relation to those needs and wants in a way which conveys real, quantifiable business value? ·How do your propositions match those of competition? ·How does value of your product or service to customer support your pricing? ·How do you set pricing of your products and services? ·What actions are you going to take improve quality and delivery of your Sales Propositions?
Mike is an Accountant with 26 yrs experience of successful selling and marketing achievement in the IT industry.Having served on the board of many UK companies including Unisys and Acorn Computers, Mike now runs O’Riordan Lawes, a business consultancy working with CEOs to address the issues of improving business performance and is a Non Executive of Quantum, a leading company of sales practitioners specialising in improving sales performance.