Sell The Concept, Not Just The Data and Spec’s!


In the age of “big data”, it’s more than tempting to rely on “just spec’s” to try to make a sale.  The assumption is that statistical evidence is the most important factor in justifying a given value proposition.  And for better or worse, many buying decisions are now driven or even made by computers that can synthesize vast amounts of numbers at light speed.  Salespeople can’t compete with computers in that arena—the human advantage is the ability to sell the concept itself!

If you’re trying to sell “spec’s only”, you have already reduced your product/service to nothing more than a commodity.  By definition, the price of a commodity is determined by “what the market will bear”. Guess what? Computers really can figure that out, leaving no need for a salesperson to be an important part of the transaction.  If at all possible, don’t let that happen to you!

It’s time to become proficient at telling your story without relying on “just the spec’s”.  Here are some tips on perfecting that important skill…

Develop a value proposition that contains no spec’s whatsoever.  That’s no easy task, and quite often salespeople use their internal research resources as the basis of their pitch.  But nothing is easier for a buyer to challenge than a bunch of spec’s!  Would you rather argue about the validity of your spec’s or the importance of your product/service?  So the spec’s turn out to be an obstacle instead of an aid to making the sale.  Taking spec’s off the table will eliminate them from being used against you!

Harness the power of analogies.  The world’s best salespeople are masters of using parallel examples to make their point.  Compelling analogies use “common sense” scenarios to support a given value proposition. It’s easier to gain agreement on a given point or concept if the buyer can see it in the context of familiar circumstances.  Successful politicians of all stripes practice this with great effectiveness…salespeople should being doing the same!

Use “sizzle” to your advantage. If spec’s are the tangible factors that drive a sale, then “sizzle” covers all of the intangible ones.  Great salespeople know that conveying value in their intangibles can be the critical edge against whatever their competitors are offering.  Selling just the tangible factors is one dimensional—with no emotional connection between the buyer and what you have to sell.  Sizzle alone won’t make the sale, but trying to sell without it is simply a non-starter!

Introduce spec’s only after establishing a solid conceptual foundation.  They obviously have an important role in making a sale.  Bring them into the conversation later to provide tangible confirmation of what you’ve been offering.  Better yet, if a buyer asks for them, you may be even closer to a sale than you might assume.  Using spec’s in your closing argument is just the icing on the cake, but not the cake itself.  That’s an important difference!

Great story telling will always be more important than just the data.  That’s true on both a macro and micro scale.  Spec’s shouldn’t tell the story, but simply back it up.  Embracing that idea will help any salesperson to be more successful!