So what!

That has to be the single most annoying thing that could be said to you when talking to a potential prospect, so why would anyone say that?

Some time ago I was doing some work with a good friend of mine who is an expert where marketing is concerned, Kirsty Cambers from Fresh Marketing Solutions, and we were talking about the solutions that we offer to our clients. She asked me to explain each of the services in a ‘sales tone’, not my favourite position, so I did. As I began to explain about the service I went into great detail about what we would deliver to this client as part of the service, i.e. all onsite time included etc. By the end of my piece she turned round to me a said ‘So what?’, I admit I was dumbfounded by this response and truth be told a little hurt. So I fumbled my way through explaining in more depth what this service would do for the business while trying not to make it too obvious that I was staggering around like a teenager on prom night. I finally came to the end and looked over expectantly at her, she replied back at me ‘So what?’. Now this was starting to really rag me up now and clearly this showed in my face as she then explained to me what she was doing.

Essentially, as a business owner we create products and services for our clients that we believe deliver value to them based on the package that is supplied. We are so wrapped up in how wonderful this thing is that we have created and so proud of it because we know what it will do to help a business that we do not stop to realise what that actually means to the business owner. Nor do we take the time to explain what this wonderful new creation will actually do for the business and it’s owner. Let me give an explanation.

Joe sells commercial vehicles to businesses. Joe knows his trade like no-one else in his industry; I mean he lives it, eats it, breathes it, dreams it….I mean he even talks about it in his sleep. Nobody and I mean nobody knows about commercial vehicles like Joe does. One day Bill comes in to his office to speak with him about buying a van for his fleet management business. Bill’s team travel all over the country repairing commercial vehicles such as lorry’s and buses so they have a lot of equipment that they carry with them. Joe listens to him explain what his business does and what he is looking for. Once Bill has finished Joe thinks it over and feels that the van that Bill has been looking at is not going to suit his purposes as he will need a greater carrying capacity and, given the mileage, another vehicle will suit him better. So Joe starts to explain about the other van which has a long wheel base and can easily carry around much more weight than Bill’s choice. This van also uses a lower revving engine which is much better when travelling at higher speeds on the motorway. After spending 15 minutes going through this Bill is quite annoyed as Joe had not even spoken about the van he had requested in first place and he leaves not ordering anything and feeling that he had not been listened to by Joe. What Joe had effectively done was the following:

  • Failed to address Bill’s original request that he came to him with
  • He explained to Bill all of the features of the other van
  • Failed to explain why Bill should be looking at the other van
  • He failed to explain the benefits for the business of choosing the other van

Had Joe have explained that the extra capacity of the long wheelbase van would have been better suited as each of his team would have been able to carry more equipment which in turn would mean that they would be able to handle more jobs without coming back to base. Also, that the lower revving engine means that the vehicle would use less fuel than his first choice which over the year would save his business around £200 per vehicle and help towards his business being ‘greener’, which he may want to do in the future. Had Joe have done this as well as discussing Bill’s original requirements then he would probably have made a sale, albeit it may have been Bill’s first choice but more likely Joe’s suggestion.

By going through the ‘So What’ process for yourself you should be able to quickly identify, usually about 3-5 times, what the real value to your client is of the product or service you offer. If you can do this honestly then you will be able to connect with your clients and offer business solutions that their business can see the benefits of, not just products and services.

If you need some help with this then I would suggest that you contact Kirsty as all I know on this subject is what she has taught me.

As always, if you have any thoughts on the subject please drop in a comment below.

-Rob

 

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