What’s in it for me?

From the very first time someone tried to sell something, the number one question on the prospect’s mind is: What’s in it for me?

You are in business to sell a product or service. You think you’re the best. You just might be. However, from the very first time someone tried to sell something, the number one question on the prospect’s mind is: What’s in it for me?

One of the biggest mistakes many businesses make is that they focus on themselves or the physical attributes of their product, or even worse they take on the Henry Ford philosophy of, You can have it in any colour as long as it’s black.

That may be fine if you are a monopoly but in today’s marketplace there is not room for too many monopolies. Even if you are, the bottom line is that the consumer is always on the lookout for something better that will satisfy their needs.

Businesses need to be customer-focused. Whether you are a home-based operation or operate a large storefront, you must be in business to be able to provide a product or service that gives them a benefit or solves a problem.

Great salespeople know this. They put the emphasis on the benefits of what they are selling. For example here’s a typical product statement: “Ace dishwashers use power wash technology to optimize the abstergent process.” It’s better to explain the benefits by turning this statement around to say: “Using power wash technology, Ace dishwashers use 50 per cent less water and clean dishes in six minutes which saves you time and money.”

Think of all the benefits you provide. If you are operating a business-to-business company, how can you help improve profits, save time, reduce overhead? If you are a consumer-oriented operation will you make people feel better about themselves, make life easier, save money, be more fashionable and, be perceived as a caring, socially responsible person.

It’s really all about knowing your current and potential customers. Keep in mind that one of the key ingredients that help people make a buying decision is how they are treated. Along with having the right product, you need to be conscious of the fact that buyers are also attracted to a company that provides them with a positive memorable experience.

In many cases it is this positive and memorable experience that will set you apart from the competition. In some cases, it even means that you can justify charging a higher price because you can add value to your product or service that others cannot. This means that if your customer feels that they are getting more, they’ll be more than likely willing to pay more.

On the other hand, if a customer does not have a good experience they will likely be going elsewhere. You need to be conscious of even the little things. How you dress, the language you use, whether your floors are clean … all of these kinds of things can sway a customer’s perception of what you have to offer.

It does not matter who you are, what type of a business you are running, whether you are in the private or public sector, you are there for only one reason: to serve each customer who walks through the door, deals with you on-line or contacts you by phone.

If you can answer that one simple question — What’s in it for me? — you will be well on your way to making a sale.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email at joesmith@shaw.ca


Comox Valley Record