Have you ever caught yourself listing dozen products to your prospect, hoping that one of them “sticks”?
Have you tried to convince someone of a product’s “value”, so you run down your product's long list of ingredients or features?
This amounts to an info overload, and it isn’t going to help you or your customer. In fact, it's killing your sales.
Don’t get me wrong: you have great intentions. You want to help, and you know how valuable your product is.
But more information isn't what people need from you. They can get any info in 2 seconds on their iPhone.
They're flooded with facts and data everywhere they look. Stop cranking up the information firehose. It will only leave them feeling confused and irrelevant - because you're putting your product in the spotlight instead of them.
Generally speaking, your customers:
are short on time
want to be listened to and understood
(Notice how "lack of information" isn't on that list?)
The problem with info overload
A Harvard Business Review article by Brent Adamson entitled "Sensemaking for Sales" examines why information overload is such a problem and what can be done about it.
The article describes three different approaches commonly adopted by sales reps:
1. Giving: “I can get you more information on that.” (“More is better.”)
2. Telling: “Let me tell you what you need to know.”
3. Sensemaking: “There is a lot of information. Let me help you make sense of it.”
After surveying buyers and sellers about the effectiveness of these three different strategies, the results speak for themselves.
Some 80% of customers interacting with sensemaking reps completed high-quality, low-regret purchases. Only 50% of customers interacting with telling reps, and 30% of customers interacting with giving reps, did so.
The antidote to info overload
Instead, what your customer needs is help with vetting, sorting, and simplifying the sea of information out there.
The only way you can do that is to ask questions to understand their problems.
Asking questions is the opposite of the information firehose. This is your time to be curious. Seek to understand.
None of your information matters until you put yourself in their shoes and see the world through their eyes.
When you do, you'll start to uncover their problems. Do they have slow growth rates? Are they losing customers because of fulfillment mistakes? Are accounts stagnating?
Notice how this is about information gathering rather than flooding.
What to do next
Okay, so you've conducted a careful discovery to understand their problems.
(I make this sound so easy when it isn't! Gap Selling offers the best framework for leading powerful discoveries, and I'll write more about this framework in an upcoming post.)
Before you share any information about your product, be sure you understand:
What’s the root cause of their problems?
Will your product actually fix that root cause?
If so, which specific features directly fix the root cause?
When you present your solution, talk about those features only. Specify how they will fix the root cause and make their problems go away.
Now, think back to recent a sales meeting where your customer didn’t make a decision, and the deal stalled.
Were you in “giving” mode, “telling” mode, or “sensemaking” mode in that meeting? What could you do differently next time?
Curious to learn more about the Gap Selling team trainings that I offer? Read more here.