Paul answers the very important question of what buyers really want.
Do buyers want your products? No! Do buyers want your services? No! They want ….
Stop thinking in terms of products or services. Sell the buyer on the outcome your solution can help them achieve.
Be wary when a customer tells you exactly what they need. The customer is not always right.
“The customer defines the outcome that they want, but you, as the salesperson, get to define how they achieve it. That’s where you bring value.”
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What do buyers really want?
(Transcribed from podcast)
Today we’re going to tackle a very important question. That question is, “What do buyers really want?” What is it that they really care about? That’s what we’re going to focus on in today’s show. And I’m going to tell you the story that prompted today’s podcasting episode.
Before we do that, though, a quick shout-out to our sponsor, Andrea, over at The Creative Impostor Studios. I just looked at last week and the podcast has now been downloaded in 75+ countries, so, it’s spanning the globe. I mean, the message is clear. People have questions—salespeople have questions—and this show is geared to provide them answers. And a lot of the credit goes to Andrea and her team over at The Creative Impostor Studios. You know, if you’re thinking of starting a podcast; if you have an idea for a podcast and you’re just curious on how the process works—how to get started—reach out to Andrea and her team. They can help you. They can guide you. They can provide the tech advice that you need. They can provide you with tips on how to produce, edit, all of those good things. Andrea and her team are here to help. So, we’re going to have a link over to Andrea’s website on this episode’s webpage. So check it out.
Also, man, I’ve got exciting news. If you’ve been listening recently, you know that I have a new book coming out. The new book is titled Selling Through Tough Times. The exciting part about this book is that no other sales book out there right now really addresses the mental challenges that salespeople face when they’re attempting to sell. Whether you’re a new salesperson just struggling to get started, whether you’re an experienced salesperson in a slump, whether your industry is facing a downturn, you’re facing a tough competitor—whatever it is, you’re facing tough times. And there is really no book out there specifically designed for salespeople to handle the mental challenges you face during tough times. That is until now. September 28th is when the book is launching, but the good news is, you can be first in line to get your copy of the book. You can do that by clicking the link provided on this episode’s webpage, or you can simply go to Amazon and search Selling Through Tough Times. Check it out. It’s available for pre-order now. And I can’t wait to launch that book. We’re going to have more exciting stuff on that as we get closer to the launch of the book.
Let’s get back to that question: What do buyers really want? They don’t want your product. They don’t want your services. They don’t want to buy from your company. They don’t even want to buy from you. What they want is they want an outcome. That’s what they really want. They want an outcome.
I’ll share the story behind the episode here—what prompted this episode. For the past couple of weeks, I was out on vacation. And, I think you guys picked up on that. One of my previous episodes was How to get the most from your vacation. And that’s because I was actually on vacation myself. I was unplugged for two weeks. My family and I, we went down to Florida. It was great. We went to the beach. And then, from there, I actually flew out to Las Vegas for a convention, spent a few days out there. Now I had a little bit of downtime, so I went out to the pool. And I’m not kidding you, as I walked out to the pool, I felt like I was going to melt. I mean, it was so hot. And I know they say, “Vegas? Oh, it’s a dry heat.” I don’t know. The dry heat almost made me dry heave. I’ll put it that way. It was so hot. I think the temperature got to 117 or 118 while we were out there. So, the decision was easy for me. When it’s that hot, I’ve got to go check out the pool.
So, I’m out there at the pool. [I] was actually watching the Italy and England European championship. And good for Italy. That was a big win. England—tough loss, for sure. But anyway, it was an exciting game to watch, especially if you’re a fan of Italy. So anyway, [I’m] watching the game. I’m lathering up sunscreen because it’s so hot, just unbelievably hot. The sun is beating down. The problem is, I got sunscreen all over my sunglasses. And the more I tried to clean them off, the worse it got. It’s like I dipped them under the water, smeared them with my hands—nothing was working. I didn’t have a towel in sight, so I went over to the bar and got a water—got a water. I did not get a cocktail, I promise you that. But I got a cocktail (laughs) and I asked the guy, I said to him, “Look, can I have a cocktail napkin? I need to clean my sunglasses.”
He hustles off, and then he comes back a few moments later and he grabs my sunglasses off of the bar. And he takes out some lens cleaner, these little towelettes you see—lens cleaners—and he starts cleaning them. And as he’s cleaning them, he looks at me, he said, “You didn’t need a bar napkin. You needed clean sunglasses.” And he was right. I didn’t want a bar napkin. What I really wanted is I wanted clean sunglasses.
And what he did is, he did what good salespeople do all the time. He focused on the outcome—what I was really trying to achieve—not what I told him what I actually needed. And that’s what prompted today’s episode is in sales, think about how often salespeople, they go into a presentation and tell the customer, “Hey, here’s what our product is. Here’s how our service works. Here’s our solution. Here’s about our company.” And you’ve got to remember, the customer doesn’t really care about all of that. What they care about is the outcome that they are trying to achieve. Remember, customers want outcomes. They don’t want products.
So here’s a few tips to put this idea into practice. Tip number one: stop thinking in terms of product or service. Instead, start thinking in terms of outcomes. Ask yourself, ‘Okay. What is it that our customer is really trying to achieve?’ You know, let’s say you sell widgets. Pick a generic term there, right? You sell widgets. Ask yourself, ‘Okay, what is it that this widget enables this customer to do?’
We do a lot of work in banking too. And I think about a lot of the clients I have in this industry. So much of it is about getting customers to buy multiple product lines: to get a savings account, checking account, loan, treasury management, things like this—all of these different banking services. Rather than focusing on the service that you’re trying to sell, or the loan that you’re trying to sell, or the line of credit that you’re trying to go after, focus on what that business owner is really trying to achieve. You’re not just selling money. Think about it. If you’re working with the business and you’re putting together a package for a, I don’t know, $10 million loan. You’re not just selling them $10 million. What you are selling that business owner on is enough capitol to buy their new building. You’re selling them on their dream. You’re selling them on the outcome, which is expanding their business. Whatever that outcome is, that’s where we need to focus. So tip number one, stop thinking about your solution in terms of product or service, start thinking of it in terms of outcomes. Ask yourself, ‘What are they trying to achieve?’ That simple question can open up the door to brand new possibilities.
Next thing, oftentimes, salespeople will focus on the utility of their solution versus the actual outcome that it will achieve. I hear this a lot, especially with new salespeople—especially with salespeople that have been brainwashed, almost, to talk about their company and how great their company is and how great their product is. Remember, buyers only care about that to the extent that it helps them achieve their goals. And so, oftentimes, I’ll hear salespeople talk about, “Oh, our technical support is great.” “We’ve been in business for 50 to 70 years, 90 years,” whatever it may be. Or “You know what? We offer a great warranty.” Remember, your customer doesn’t care about the technical support. They don’t care about your longevity. They don’t care about your warranty. They care about what the warranty, the tech support, and your longevity will really do for them—what it means to them.
Think about that. We talk about longevity. What does that really mean to them? Well, it gives them peace of mind as they navigate these uncertain times in business. They want a partner that has been around the block that has experienced challenges because that gives them peace of mind. They can rest assured knowing that they’re partnering with a company that has been there, that can help guide them. That’s the outcome. They don’t care about your technical support. What they care about is being able to get their equipment up and running when they have an issue or a concern. That’s where we focus on. That’s what really matters to them. So again, tip number two, focus more on the outcome, not the utility.
And the third piece: be wary when a customer tells you what they need. You know, sometimes in sales we think, “Wow, how easy is it when our customer tells us exactly what they need?” Yeah, it may seem easy, but you got to remember, customers aren’t always right. I know we’re taught that from a very young age. When you hear that business books and customer service books, the customer’s always right. The customer isn’t always right. The customer always deserves our respect. They deserve to be treated fairly. They deserve a bunch of things, but they’re not always right. And that’s when customers count on us to help them make the right decisions. And the reason why customers aren’t always right is because they don’t always have all of the information. You, as the salesperson, you’re the expert. Your ability to find the right product, to have a broader depth of knowledge about a certain application or about a certain business practice—that is where you create value.
So, the customer isn’t always right. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong, it just means that they’re not always completely right. You, as the salesperson, you have the information. You can help them. So, be wary when a customer tells you, “Hey, here’s exactly what I need.” “Here’s exactly how I plan on achieving that.” Just like me asking for a bar napkin. That was me telling the bartender, “Hey, here’s what I need. I need a bar napkin.” But he was quick to tell me, “No, you don’t need a bar napkin. What you need are clean sunglasses.” That’s what I really needed. So be willing to challenge your buyer when they tell you, “Hey, here’s what I really need.” Be able to challenge them a little bit. Dig a little deeper. Ask them questions. Draw out their deeper concerns, and most importantly, figure out what it is they’re trying to accomplish. The customer defines the outcome that they want, but you, as the salesperson, get to define how they actually achieve it. That’s the key. That’s where you bring value.
Make it a big day.