How to sell opportunities instead of products

Unfortunately, most salespeople don’t sell opportunities – they sell products and services.  They’re been trained in “here’s what we sell, and these are the benefits to our customers.” But that doesn’t mean that these benefits are viewed as a particularly good opportunity by your prospect.

The typical salesperson has been trained to conduct a standard needs assessment through the filter of her product’s generic benefits. The main question being answered is: does the customer need my current products based on the standard benefits we’ve identified?

But what if the prospect isn’t standard? The greatest sales opportunities allow you to add value that go above and beyond the standard level of benefits. This takes you to a higher level than your competitors. To reach that level, you should strive to understand the severe friction suffered by the prospect’s organization, and by the individual people within it who will make the buying decision.

If you can understand friction on those levels, you can design your proposals as an opportunity for everyone involved in the buying decision. That’s exactly what you need to make a complex sale. After all, the target customer isn’t going to want to commit their resources and take action unless you can define your proposal as an irresistible opportunity with a highly compelling value exchange.

If you fail to do this, they’re going to view your proposal as just another nopportunity. They won’t be able to focus the value being delivered, because you haven’t pointed it out. They will only see the value being spent. They may eventually buy from you, but only after destroying value for you by driving down the price. Because you haven’t demonstrated how you can add sustained value to them, they’re unlikely to desire a sustained relationship.

The lesson is: don’t sell products or generic benefits, it will only position you as a commodity price taker. Do the work to find the opportunities to add tremendous value for your customers, and in return they will give you not only sustained loyalty, but also margins that you never believed possible.