Through this article, I would like to take you on a trip to India, and give you a tour of how sales happen. Selling technology is an interesting phenomenon to look at, whether it concerns B2B or B2C selling.
Selling technologies : techniques matter
I was in a mobile store in India and was looking to buy a mobile phone for myself. As I was in the queue to meet one of the salesmen, I saw something amazing. The customer-salesman interaction was basically a speech given by the salesman. Based on the customer’s willingness to pay, the salesman would pick up a phone that fell in that range and start to list all the features for the customer. At the end, I could sense that the customer was confused. Perhaps, he would have ended up thinking if it was really what he wanted to buy, or, was it too sophisticated for his simple use. The customer did see some other models, and again got descriptions from the salesman. There was no deal and the customer left. Since I could not find a proper match for my requirements in that store either, I moved to another shop. This one was way more crowded, and I again had to wait for my turn. I was observing the salesmen again and I made my own hypothesis on why there were more people in this store. The salesmen here would ask people at the very beginning about their requirements, what they actually wanted. One of the customers said, “I am troubled by my phone hanging during every second call that I make”. The salesman quickly picked up a phone and said, “Sir, this one has 2 GB RAM and since it’s a Nokia product, you can be sure that it won’t hang often”. The customer asked the price and after telling him the price, the salesman said “in this range, this is the best one for your requirements”. The deal was done and the product was sold.
In case of the first store, the salesman would begin his monologue like “Sir, it has 8 MP camera, 720 X 1280 pixels display, 16 GB internal memory, 2 GB RAM, dual sim and you can put a microSD card of up to 256 GB”. Now, even though this description includes the one feature that the customer is looking for (say 2 GB RAM), it gets messed up between so many other features which are more or less relevant to him. Moreover, there is very little room left now for a further description of this feature that could satisfy the customer by letting him know that since it has 2 GB RAM, the phone won’t be afflicted with hanging problems. Hence, this “enumeration of all the features” technique, in my view, is not a great methodology to sell technology.
Salesmanship is an art which not every salesman masters.
Selling technology requires this art to be well mastered by the salesforce of a company. Many sales people tend to delineate the features of the product while explaining a product to a potential customer without getting familiar with the actual and precise requirement of the customer. For B2B technology-selling, it is critical to know and comprehend what the business to which we are about to sell a technology, needs. A total unveiling of all the product features is not required in many instances and may end up confusing the customer instead. Just mentioning the right ones shall do the trick. Thus, the description of the product should be propelling enough to create an inclination of the customer towards buying it.
And in B2B , how does the sale happen ?
Let’s look into how a business sells its technology to another using this methodology. If a business expresses an interest in buying a specific technology, this “propelling the inclination” method may help in securing a deal with this potential customer in case the latter doesn’t state clearly his requirements or the problem his business is facing, which may be a reality. When a salesman starts to enumerate the features of the product to a potential customer, he should be smart enough to perceive and decipher which feature(s) the customer regards as significant. His description may include some features which really do not matter to the customer at all, and at the same time those features whose proper detailing will be propelling enough to incline the customer towards buying the product- these are the features that will make the difference and should be capitalized. Hence, the salesman’s knowledge of the exact requirements of the customer play a crucial role.
To make a successful deal in the B2B technology-selling domain, a thorough analysis of the potential customer’s business and the problem his business is facing is necessary. This could be readily achieved by simply asking questions from the buyer about his issue and need; if being inquisitive is not an option, then the salesforce should focus on analyzing the need of the buyer and come up with an effective reasoning for the purchase. Once the salesforce understands the problem that the business is facing and needs a solution for, they should try and give as much information as they can regarding that characteristic of their offered product which actually relates best to and solves the problem of the customer. In other words, they should structure their sales presentation around that feature which would be the most appealing one for the buyer. This would prove effective because of the fact that this is the very feature that the customer is interested in, since it solves his problem. Hence, the description of the features of customer interest is the propelling force.
This ensures that the requirements of the customer are met, and he has got what he was looking for. Finally, it is the time to make the customer feel that he has secured a great deal, i.e., just adding some icing on the cake. So, after explaining the feature that caught the customer interest in the product, the salesman should elucidate the other qualities of it to ensure that the customer feels that he is getting more than what he desired. Also, a mention of our hero-salesman’s line “for this price, this is one of the best offers for your requirements” can effectively close a successful deal. At the end, the company has sales and more importantly, happy customers.
The understanding of a client’s actual problem can open doors for a company to sell a complementary technology with the one it is already selling to its client. Maybe through its thorough understanding of a client’s problem, a business can find other sub-problems that the client might be unaware of and be able to sell them an additional technology that they have. Hence, more sales.