Really interesting news story in today’s Guardian, with Rupert Murdoch saying how the media industry now needs to be on ‘on the same page’ about the need to come up with some serious competitor to streaming video giants, Amazon and Netflix.

Speaking at the WSJD Live conference, Murdoch told the conference attendees that “MySpace was developing a video service, launched three months before YouTube. Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65bn. “MySpace failed to take off because of management mistakes after the purchase, said Murdoch. “It was a series of expensive, lost opportunities.” Murdoch also admitted he had “messed up” MySpace, the social media website News Corp bought for $580m in July 2005. At that point MySpace was “growing like crazy”, Murdoch said. Six years later News Corp sold MySpace for just $35m after it became clear it was unable to compete with Facebook.”

Competition is here to stay and is likely to keep increasing. Customers are more demanding and more educated than ever so we need a point of difference.

Read 5 top tips from our experts on successful selling:-

1. Link features to benefits

In reality, customers are interested in purchasing the benefits of your products or service, NOT the features. For example, a motor car has many features such as power steering, automatic door locking, overdrive, a sunroom and so on. But let’s link these features to benefits:-

– The vehicle has power steering which means that it’s light to handle, particularly in small areas so after a long journey you will feel less tired.

– It has automatic door lock, so when you shut and lock the driver’s door, all the doors are safely locked, which is useful on cold or wet days.

–  It has overdrive, which means that you will have greater fuel economy.

A very useful link phrase to use is “Which means that…” What does this feature actually mean to that customer? What will it actually DO for them? Why should they care?

Your company may be the biggest and longest established, but so what? What really counts is what this actually means to your buyers?

Being the biggest may mean, “We have the most experience, expertise and resources to satisfy all of your requirements.” THAT’s the benefit!

2. Don’t rely on logic

What is it that causes people to make a decision to buy? Logic or emotion? Research shows that 84% of decisions are based on emotion and not logic. People buy people. If there’s a choice, we will not do business with someone we don’t like. Many people have been trained to find a need to prove a need and to sell that need, All this does is create “hard selling” and now that’s out of date.

I could prove to you very quickly that you NEED some more life insurance. But do you WANT some?

The good salesperson finds that need but they won’t sell it. They will turn that needs into a WANT by selling the results of either having or not having it, so tapping into the buyer’s emotions.

The main buying emotions include:-

– Health

– Security

– Prestige

– Fear of loss

– Ambition

– Status

– Greed

People will always find the money for the things they want, not necessarily for what they need.

3. Don’t catch ‘priceitis’

Priceitis is the disease caught by many salespeople. They feel, think, and then come to believe that in order to make a sale they must be the cheapest.

They are convinced that customers buy by price and they’ll only buy the cheapest. If it were true that people buy only by the price, the cheapest motor car, TV or pair of jeans would be the biggest sellers and we know that’s not the case!

Studies have shown that around 18-20% of people will only buy the cheapest product or service, regardless of whether it works, or whether they really want or need it – if it’s the cheapest, then they’ll buy it. 0.5% of people will only ever buy the most expensive product,

The vast majority of business (80%) is conducted with buyers who are not interested in the cheapest or most expensive, but rather the best value for money; people buy value, or more accurately, their perception of value.

So the best salespeople sell value and not price. Never apologise for your price.

Demonstrate through your product knowledge and the service you offer that your prices are fair; be proud of your price.

The more confidence you show, the more confidence you customers will have that they are buying value for money.

4. Pre-condition your buyer

Price, of course is an important factor. Virtually no sales ever takes place without the price being declared, discussed, negotiated or agreed. Most people, when they find a product or service of interest, will immediately ask “How much?” But there are occasions when it is absolutely necessary to pre-condition a buyer or even to find out their price expectations.

Some questions that will help towards price-conditioning are:-

– May I ask, have you got a budget?

– I anticipate the overall cost will be approximately £20,000. How does that sound?

– I can’t be specific but it will be in the region of £10,000. Is that within your limits?

– To give you some indication, it could be between £400 and £800. Will that be ok? 

5. Don’t knock the competition

Don’t knock the competition to your prospect. But it’s equally important that you don’t FEAR them.

If you show concern about the competition your client will be concerned as well, and will lose confidence in you; they’ll want to research what you have to offer in more depth. When asked about them, you may say, “Very good operation; quite good products” or “Been in business for years; a little old fashioned nowadays, but nice people.”

In some sales situations, your presentation will be just one of many that the client has organised, they are looking to see what’s on offer and you’ll be proposing against a competitor. Don’t fear it! Ask in the politest way possible about the other companies your client may be seeing. Then using your industry knowledge, steal the thunder from your competition: explain your competitors’ USPs, because they will if you won’t.

Then when your competitor labours his USPs, it will all appear a little stale and dated.

If you know your prospective customer will be having a series of meetings with your competitors to make a comparison prior to making a decision, always try to get yourself into the position of going in again at the end of the meeting schedule:-

“My Buyer, may I ask that prior to making any decisions, you allow me to visit you when you have seen the proposals and had a chance to consider them? As you know, I want to secure your business. May I fix a time, when it would be most convenient to pop in and see you again at that stage?”

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