Selling is a queer profession!!! Unlike in other jobs where your output lies in your own resources & competence, it’s different in Sales… In sales the output of the sales person lies in his customers’ resources & competence!!! Yet, the Sales targets are all his … How unfair!!!

Not unfair at all!!! & I have reason to say so… I feel few sales people realize the simple logic that since their success lies in the efforts of their customers, it’s they who will make their targets!!! Wondering how??? Simple… by allowing them to buy from you!!!

The folly that most sales people make is that they go out to sell. They hard sell to their customers by glorifying their product, over committing & trying to imposing the product onto the customer… This makes their customer defensive & he goes into a “No buy” armor… Seldom though, but even if a sales person gets a sale, it’s never repeated… Another common mistake that Sales people make is that they are unable to distinguish between a friend & a foe…  They waste a lot of time on people who aren’t their “Target customers”.

I have been in the sales profession for the over 25 years now & I rarely missed my targets. I realized I can do little to make my targets! So, I made my customers work overtime to make them.  Now the point is why would a customer help me make my targets? Is he in love with me? No absolutely not!  No one is love with anyone so as to harm his own self. He will help me because he loves himself & wants to make his own self comfortable for which he needs my product… & its me who can give him the maximum value…  Once a Sales person understands this simple dictum, I promise, he will never fail in this profession… Rather he will dictate his terms to the world around him.

Need & Value creation is the guru-mantra of being successful in Marketing & Sales… This is all that Successful Marketers have done & this is exactly what you should do…

1. Discover or uncover NEED of your customer

2. Create  & Deliver  VALUE to him

What is NEED??? Is that product which you want to possess? When you say “I need a motorcycle” is it that mode of transport comprising of 2 wheels, one handle, seat & an engine that you need? Most of you will say “yes!!!”. Few others will add Mileage, Looks, Power, Speed etc. to it. & that’s where you are wrong! Well friends, if it was a transport that you want then God all mighty has provided you with two legs as a natural transport system. If its mileage that you are looking for then a cycle would be the best… & so on… So these are not your Needs!!! These are ‘satisfiers’ to your needs!!!

Need is not a product… It’s a feeling! A feeling of something missing in life. A feeling of deprivation. An urge to fill some vacuum that exists within your inner self. A product is only a medium that has some definite inert benefits, which  fills in this vacuum & gives you that feeling of completeness.

When you say you want a motorcycle as a transport, what you actually mean is that you have a need to save time or save your energy! When you want Mileage its economy that you are buying, when looks its Machoness or faminity, when power its Authority or a sense of Ruling, when speed its Excitement & so on…

Friends, you don’t buy Products… You buy “Benefits” that satisfy you Needs… Products are mere Satisfiers of those needs… Products are only a means not an end… So WHY SELL FEATURES OF YOUR PRODUCTS? SELL THE BENEFITS THAT WILL SATISFY A CUSTOMER NEED! & the customers will come flogging to you gate to buy your products… This is why Peter Drucker said “The aim of marketing is to know & understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him & sells itself.”

However it’s easier said than done!!! Because in today’s complex, over communicated market place, customers have many needs from one product & one product can satisfy many needs.  When you buy a motor cycle you may want a transport, want to impress friends & do it economically too… How ever different people may have different components & combinations of needs from the same product. What is more daunting for Marketers is the fact that few Needs maybe very strong yet lie below the conscious state of the customer!!! This is why many products that give no Basic benefits for which they are made get sold! Can Axe deodorant make you macho & sexy??? Can Hunk Motorcycle make you hunky? Can a low rise jean of Lee make you confident, modern & feminism? If you think it can… think again! But we still buy them for this reason… Subconsciously & secretly though! What these savvy marketers have done is they have made us “Pavlov’s Dogs” where we pull out our wallets & spend, spend, and spend till we drop dead on the tune of the Marketers’ stimuli…  We need to do the same. UNDERSTAND THE LATENT NEED OF THE CUSTOMER & DESIGN VALUE PREPOSITION AROUND IT.

What is VALUE??? Is it the cost of a product? Is it the features of a product? Or is it the feeling that one will get upon owing a product? Well, it’s a combination of all the three. Value is a ratio between the physical & mental benefits w.r.t. the cost he pays in terms of money, emotions, time & efforts. It’s a sense of winning that a customer feels he will get upon purchasing any product…

NO PRODUCT IS BOUGHT UNLESS IT HAS A VALUE PREPOSITION. So, build a set of values around the your product & convey it to your customers creatively so that a perception of Value is created in his mind.

After the customer has put his faith in your product by buying it, make sure that you deliver what you have promised. A satisfied customer will rope in 5 more customers for you while an unsatisfied will take away 11. So promise only what you can deliver. ENSURE YOU SATISFY CUSTOMER NEEDS!

Selling is a very gratifying profession. Good sales people not only sell their products they make friends too! They get money, fame & respect faster than in any other profession!

So learn the nuances of this trade… Do it cleverly, creatively & constructively… Use the art & science of creating & retaining customers… DON’T SELL… MAKE THE CUSTOMER TO BUY!!!

by: Prof. Jitendra Nigam, Taxila Business School

This entry was posted in Marketing.

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