Here's a situation salespeople find themselves in often: your potential buyer wants more features from the product. They want a "feature-complete solution."
But you don't want to add every feature you can think of. You know what kind of product you want to make, and it's lighter-weight than your competitors'.
In this situation, it can be hard to have a productive conversation with prospects. They want more features, but you know that more isn’t always better. And that can cost you sales.
So what do I tell teams in this situation?
It’s tough to have this kind of conversation. You run into this often with first-time buyers. They do their research and come at you with a huge list of features they want.
This is why I tell reps not to start with the features and benefits of the product.
That seems counterintuitive, but it gives you time to address something even more important: the philosophy and point of view behind your product.
If you’ve built something, you’re an expert in that field. You’ve seen what your competition is offering. You’ve seen which features are useful and which are just distractions.
You left those features out of your product for a reason. And you need to let prospects know that.
To do that, tell prospects your story. Tell them why you chose to include the features you did. Tell them you didn’t set out to create a product with the most features—you set out to build one with the best features.
That might seem like a minuscule difference. But it can mean the world in a sales conversation.
And don’t forget to explain why you left things out, either. That’s important, too.
What you’re doing here is selling the story of your company.
Effective salespeople have something in common with engaging public speakers: they’re great storytellers.
The human brain is wired for storytelling. Stories light up the brain’s emotional centers. That’s what makes people feel a connection—and that connection leads to sales. Features and benefits are important. But if features and benefits were all that mattered, the world wouldn't need sales people. Buyers could compare features and make a buying decision based on that alone. A real connection is even more important than features and benefits.
In most cases, good storysellers make the story about their prospect. Making a prospect the hero of a story is something that salespeople have done forever. And it works.
But in this case, your company is the hero of the story. It might go something like this:
If that customer found success because you included fewer features, even better. That’s perfect. For a specific example, we’ll talk about the story that we use at Close in a moment.
Good storytelling grabs your prospect’s attention and gets them to focus on how your product will help them. They won’t check out immediately when you say you don’t have the latest trendy feature that your competitors have.
Instead, they’ll see why you built your product the way you did and understand the value in a simpler, more focused tool.
If you tell the story well, they’ll buy into that idea, too. Combine the story of your company with your product philosophy and you’ll nail this type of sales conversation.
Once you’ve sold your product philosophy, you can get into the features and benefits of your product. You can do all the things you’d normally do on a sales call. But until a feature-hungry prospect understands why you did what you did, they’ll be skeptical.
We’ve been doing this a long time. Close doesn’t have as many features as some of the big sales CRMs. And that makes some of our prospects nervous.
We have a simple product philosophy: salespeople should spend more time communicating with prospects. Seems like a given, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not. Most B2B sales reps spend a huge amount of time entering data into their CRM software and doing other administrative busywork. This is a colossal waste of company resources.
When salespeople aren’t communicating, they’re not doing what they’re best at. So administrating, logging their activities, entering data, organizing leads, and all the other things sales reps do are distractions. That creates friction. We wanted to change that.
Here’s an example. One of our customers was previously using Salesforce, and they did a lot of cold calling. Their reps had to click 16 times to log a single call in Salesforce. 16 times! Once they switched to Close, that number went down to 2. They saved 14 clicks with every call.
That doesn’t sound like much, right?
But consider this: each rep was making about 100 calls every day. So they’re saving 140 clicks. With a team of 30 people, that’s 21,000 saved clicks every week. Now you’re looking at some serious time savings.
At this point, you know our product philosophy. You see exactly why we didn’t include the millions of features that are in Salesforce. And you understand why that’s a good thing.
If we were in a sales conversation, I could now go on to selling the features and benefits of our product.
I’d tell you about Close’s predictive dialer, which automatically calls through a rep’s lead list and only involves the rep when someone picks up the phone. It lets your sales reps spend more time doing what they do best: selling.
The fact that we have fewer features than Salesforce is actually a benefit. Lots of people don’t see it that way at first. But once we tell this story, they get it.
That’s the power of telling your product philosophy.
When you’re the only one making sales calls or presentations, you sell your product philosophy with ease. You know the story behind your product, you know the point of view your company has, and you can articulate them.
In the beginning, we had a small team of founders that sold Close. We had all helped create the product, so it was easy for us to talk about our philosophy. That’s the case with most startups.
But as your sales team grows, that story can get lost.
It’s easy to overlook that fact—I’ve done it myself. Some of your salespeople will get out of the habit of selling your company story. Others might not know the story at all.
To make sure that your salespeople are selling your product philosophy, include it in your sales trainings. Make sure to talk about it on a regular basis. Listen to your reps’ calls to see if they’re sharing the story well.
Once your team sees how effective sharing your product philosophy is, they’ll do it on their own. But you have to help them get started. You have to make your philosophy part of the sales process.
It’s easy to get frustrated with prospects who want all the features. But when you understand where they’re coming from, selling them on your philosophy gets easier.
They’re usually first-time buyers—not experts. They’re feeling a bit unsure of their decisions and insecure about the buying process. So they figure that if a product has every feature on the market, it’s probably a good choice.
It’s an understandable reaction. You know that the product with the most features won’t be the best choice for them. Now you just have to tell them why—and you’ll get that sale. That’s the power of selling your philosophy, and not just your product.
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