Category Archives: Selling

Selling 101: The Most Common Mistake I See


A few weeks ago, I had a really great support ticket from one of my customers. The ticket, and my answer to it, points out one of the biggest mistakes I see salespeople making, especially folks who want to be offliners, or Internet business consultants. I’m pasting the important parts of the ticket below. Read the question and my response, and see if you can pick out the problem I’m talking about. Below that I’ll tell you more about what I think.

One more thing. Comments are appreciated! đŸ˜‰

The Question:

I am about to start calling prospecting for mobile apps, what would you point out then. If they have no mobile website, I could start there, but I want to hit the ones with a mobile website as well because that probably shows they are aware of mobile and are more of an early adopter of technologies. I was thinking of saying “I was calling because you do not have a mobile app” but not sure if that is really going to catch their attention like pointing out a problem like crappy reviews, no Google places listing, or not being able to find website on Google.

My Answer:

On the mobile app thing, think about what the app is going to do for them. If it’s not going to solve a problem, there’s no reason for them to buy it from you. Why would anyone spend money needlessly? So, instead of thinking about “apps”, think about what problem the app will solve. This is a classic case of features vs benefits. The app itself is just a feature. No one really cares about your app. They just care about the problem(s) it will solve, which for businesses normally means the money they’ll generate or at least quit loosing. The app is merely a means to an end. Think about the end result. Sell that! So, just for argument’s sake, let’s assume the app will increase their repeat business. DO NOT call and tell them you have an app to sell. Call, instead, and tell them you have a proven solution to creating more revenue per customer.

You also should have some material to send them about your app. Doesn’t have to be fancy. A pdf will suffice. An example app would be great too! So, here’s how this all should go down.

1. Initial call: Hi! I’m Chris! I own a company that helps businesses like yours generate XX% more revenue per customer. Not trying to sell you anything today, just wondering if I could send you some information about me and what I do.

2. Get the info and send the PDF or whatever you have.

3. Follow up

Chris, the PDF needs to read like a short report, but actually have a slight sales push for the app. So, it needs to fulfill the promise that you stated on the phone. You said you can help them create more revenue. You need to prove that with the PDF, or at least substantiate it. The PDF is actually your sales letter. And, what’s so beautiful about this is only the people who are interested will be actually reading it.

Here’s What I Think:

The issue here is confusing features vs. benefits. Features are “product-centric”. Benefits are “buyer-centric”.

Here’s the deal. People buy because they have a need or want. The difference between the two right now is immaterial. How the potential buyer expresses a possible solution to their problem is called a benefit.

So, let’s say you are a 22 year old guy and you want to pick up hot girls. (Lady’s work with me here. I’m a dinosaur!) You determine that a hot car will help you pick up hot girls. You go to the car dealership. What are you looking for? You’re looking for benefits that you think will help you be a babe magnet. Benefits are how the potential buyer sees a possible solution to their problem.

Features are different. Features are aspects of the product, which hopefully will deliver the benefit. So, the car salesman could say that such and such a car will definitely help you pick up hot girls. How it’s going to do that are the features of the car.

So, features support benefits. They prove benefits to the buyer. As a salesperson you need to be able to do the following.

  1. Identify the problem the prospect is trying to solve
  2. State that your product can solve this problem via one or more benefits.
  3. Back that up with features!

Let’s wrap this up by going back to the car example. Let’s say that you think that the type of girls you want to attract will be impressed by speed and a nice throaty sound to the engine. So, speed and that nice throaty sound are the benefits you’re looking for. Attracting girls is the problem to be solved.

How should the salesperson proceed with the sale? Well, if it were me I’d put you in the car go to a nice quite stretch of road and floor it! You’d feel the g’s. You’d be impressed with the speed. Next, I’d just drive around revving up the engine a lot so you could hear it. I would show you that the car had the requisite benefits.

If you needed more information, or proof, I’d start talking about the size of the engine, how the exhaust system was constructed, and all that  jazz. These are features, but they’re only important in sales because they back up and prove the claims that the product has the needed benefits.

As they say in the mob movies…Capiche?

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