Features vs. Benefits

by Jacques Werth

Here is a question that we’ve heard hundreds of times.  I heard it again, when Shawn called and said, “I have always been told that you should talk about benefits, not features.  Why do you teach salespeople to do the opposite?”

My response was, “Suppose you are sitting in your office, and a salesperson calls you to say, ‘My Company can increase your profits without any out-of-pocket costs.  Let’s get together and I’ll show you how we do that.  Which is better for you, Tuesday at 10:00 or Thursday at 2:30?’  How would you react?”

Shawn answered, “Well, it is obvious that he is trying to get an appointment without revealing what he is selling.  My  prospecting pitch is not so obvious.”

So, I asked him to tell me what he says.

Here it is:  “My name is Shawn.  I’m with the Process Technology division of RMC.  We can lower your machine maintenance costs while increasing your profits.  How much is machine maintenance and downtime costing you now?”

My reply was, “Shawn, if that is working for you, why did you call us?”

“Well, it isn’t working very well,” he said, “that’s why I called.  Almost everyone refuses to answer the question.  Once in a while, someone will ask me to explain how we do that.  Then, I try to set an appointment to show them, and they refuse.”

“Why do you think you have been getting those results?” I asked.

“I think that people are so sick and tired of getting sales calls, that they treat all salespeople badly.”

I replied, “Top salespeople seldom get those kinds of reactions.  Have you considered that you might be creating those results?”

“Why would anyone not want to save money and increase profits?” he asked.

“Perhaps your ‘pitch’ makes them feel like a fish that is being offered a worm, with a great big hook sticking out of it,” I said.  “Most intelligent people react that way when presented with benefits that are intended to entice them.”

Most people who have a need for your products or services already know that they have the need.  Those prospects want a clear, very brief description of what you are selling, and they want to know a couple of important features.  If they can perceive the benefit of at least one of those features, you will usually get a positive response.”

“So, why does our sales manager tell us to only use benefits in our pitches?” Shawn asked.

“It’s probably because he believes that it is the right way to sell.  But, he does not remember how ineffective it was when he was selling – before he became a manager and trainer.”

“Well, if I don’t do it his way, I’ll probably lose my job,” he said.

“If you continue to do it his way, and your sales do not improve, do you think that you will keep your job?” I asked.

Shawn said he would have to think about that.

What do you think?

Features vs. Benefits

Willing to Try Something New

by Jacques Werth

At the end of one of my training workshops on High Probability Selling (HPS), I asked the participants what they were going to do with what they had learned.  After some discussion, one of them asked another what she was going to do.

She answered, “I’m going to use High Probability Selling for one month.  I’ll compare my sales volume with the average of my previous twelve months.  If I come close to that average by just taking one course in HPS, I’ll keep using it and I’ll take the course over again.  If not, I’ll go back to the way I was selling before.  The worst that can happen is that I will lose one month’s income.”

She was already a very successful Realtor before she took the course, but was looking for a way to increase her sales while reducing her work hours.  Her willingness to try new things is what led to the success she already had, and also to the new success she found with High Probability Selling.

Willing to Try Something New

Struggling With High Prob

This is a recent email conversation between Kirk Mousley of Mousley Consulting, Carl Ingalls of Embossing Technologies, and Jacques Werth of High Probability Selling.  The first email is a broadcast email from Kirk to his mailing list.  The remaining emails are between Kirk, Carl, and Jacques.

— From Kirk Mousley, 12 Oct 2010, 12:11pm —
Hi all,

Please let me know if you do not wish to receive any emails from me about updates to my company blog, and I will remove you from my emailing list.  I certainly hate spam myself, and really do not wish for people to view this as spam, and I will definitely remove you from the list if you desire.

For those of you that are interested, please check out my very short blog entry on “Working Together” at http://mouscon.blogspot.com/

I would love to know your thoughts!

Kirk Mousley, Ph.D.
President
Mousley Consulting, Inc.

— From Carl Ingalls, 19 Oct 2010, 4:35pm —
Kirk,

The email that you sent out to your mailing list indicates that you have decided to continue to treat the list as an “Opt-Out” list.  This means that people somehow get onto your list (whether they chose to or not), and that they have to take action to get off of it.

If you decide that you want to have an “Opt-In” list, you would write to them in a very different way.  You would be telling them that, in order to continue to receive blog updates from you by email, they would have to take action to specifically request it.

This is a very tough decision.  We are also struggling with it.

We have both kinds of lists.  The subscriber list to our blog is strictly Opt-In.  The list of people who have purchased something from us is Opt-Out.  The first list is extremely valuable.  The second is not worth much.

Carl Ingalls 610-627-9030
Embossing Technologies

— From Kirk Mousley, 19 Oct 2010, 4:31pm —
Hi Carl,

There is no question an opt-in list is much better.

My problem is how do you “prospect” with an opt-in list?  In my mind, prospecting means reaching out to people that don’t know you.

Kirk Mousley, Ph.D.
President
Mousley Consulting, Inc.

— From Carl Ingalls, 19 Oct 2010, 5:17pm —
Kirk,

I think what you are doing is marketing, not prospecting.  Marketing is done with messages that are broadcast to a large number of people at once, where the price per contact is small enough to justify the very small success rates.  Prospecting is done one-on-one.

Marketing to an opt-in list has a much higher success rate than marketing to an opt-out list.  The size of the opt-out list has to be a huge multiple of the size of the opt-in list before it has any hope of being as effective.

Carl Ingalls 610-627-9030
Embossing Technologies

— From Kirk Mousley, 19 Oct 2010, 5:24pm —
How do you market to get people to opt-in?

I had not really thought there was a lot of difference between marketing and prospecting.

My take is that normally you would get a list and start making calls.  That is prospecting.

I suppose one-to-one email would be closer to prospecting but still very low success rate.

Kirk

— From Carl Ingalls, 19 Oct 2010, 11:00pm —
Kirk,

This is an extremely important principle at the core of High Probability Selling.  We do not attempt to “get” people to do anything.  Instead, we find (or attract) people who want to do it for their own reasons.

There are two very significant problems with the intention to get people to do something.

  • The first is that it’s counterproductive.   It doesn’t work often enough to compensate for the negative reactions it generates.  Your intention and your attempts to carry it out create resistance against you.
  • The second is that holding onto this intention will prevent you from being successful with High Probability Selling.

This principle is also very useful when giving advice to a paying client.  I have discovered that my clients are far more likely to take my advice if I make no attempt at all to “get” them to take my advice.   When my clients actually take my advice, they get a lot more benefit from me than when they don’t, and they hire me back more often.  I believe that this is part of the reason my business has improved so much lately.

Carl Ingalls

— From Jacques Werth, 20 Oct 2010, 10:44am —
Carl,

With some minor changes, this is a very good blog article.

Jacques

— From Carl Ingalls, 20 Oct 2010, 2:36pm —
Kirk,

Jacques suggested that our email conversation might make an excellent post on our blog.  I agree.

Do I have your permission to post an edited version of this conversation thread (starting with your broadcast email dated 12 Oct) on our blog?   I will send it to you for your approval first (and also to Jacques).

If you are ok with it, I would like to identify you and your consulting company in the post.

Carl Ingalls

— From Kirk Mousley, 20 Oct 2010, 3:58pm —
Hi Carl,

I guess it would depend on how bad I look.

Let me know what you come up with, and we can decide.

Kirk

— From Carl Ingalls, 20 Oct 2010, 4:32pm —
Kirk,

In my opinion, our email conversation presents you in a positive light.  I would not want to proceed if it didn’t.  Let’s see what Jacques thinks.  If he feels the same way I do, then I will put the conversation together and send it to you (and to Jacques) before I do anything else with it.

Carl Ingalls

— From Jacques Werth, 21 Oct 2010, 6:55am —
Kirk and Carl,

It’s admirable that a skilled high-tech consultant wants to learn how to communicate more effectively with his clients and prospects.  If we stay focused on that intention, Kirk will come across as who he really is.  Mutual respect is already demonstrated in your conversations.

That kind of authenticity is uncommonly interesting to most people.

Jacques

Struggling With High Prob

Top Salespeople Rarely Attend Sales Meetings

by Jacques Werth and Carl Ingalls

Have you ever noticed that the very top salespeople in the sales force rarely attend the sales meetings that are mandatory for everyone else?   Have you ever wondered why?

The usual explanation is that their high sales performance causes them to be excused from having to attend the sales meetings.  But what if it’s the other way around?

What if their great success in selling is because they don’t attend the sales meetings?

Top Salespeople Rarely Attend Sales Meetings

Security and Reliability As Buying Motivators

by Jacques Werth

In trying to learn what we now call the High Probability Selling Paradigm, I found that it works to understand how most people think and/or intuitively react.  Security and Reliability are the most important motivations of most people who are ready, willing, and able to satisfy a need that they have.  That is usually expressed as:

  • I have a problem or need and I know the value of solving it now.
  • I don’t want to learn how, or to do it myself.
  • I want a reliable solution that will solve my problem.
  • I don’t necessarily want the best product or service available.
  • I just want something that I’m sure will work.
  • I don’t want to be sold on what I already want or to be confused.
  • I want to deal with someone I trust and respect.

We call those people “High Probability Prospects.”  They make up 0.5 to 2 percent of the market for most products and services. An efficient way to find them is to make prospecting offers to a highly targeted prospecting list.

Security and Reliability As Buying Motivators