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Sales Solutions
"Where's the Beef?" vol 3, issue #2
February, 2005
OK, I'm dating myself with this one. But I thought it a small price to make the point I want to in this month's Sales Tip. How many of you remember the Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" commercials that ran in 1984 and 1985? For those of you who don't, the commercials were a parody on the meagerness of the hamburger portions patrons received when eating at competitive burger joints. Contrary to all the advertisements showing close-in shots of giant, beefy quarter-pounders and whoppers, what you actually got when you sauntered up to the counter, plunked down your money, and walked away was a thin sliver of meat sandwiched between two much larger halves of a bun! The commercials featured a crusty old lady demanding to know, "Where's the Beef?" It became one of the most successful ad campaigns in history, earning Wendy's difficult-to-win market share from their two main competitors.

It's the same thing in a sales presentation. You may come in and wow them with claims of how great your offering is, maybe evening whipping a nifty PowerPoint on them. But if you leave that presentation without showing them your "beef" - the benefits and advantages of your offering and how it can help them achieve their objectives - all you've done is leave your prospect hungry for more. And guess where they'll go to tame their appetite?

Prospects want to know "Where's Your Beef?" If you simply make a claim that you can do something, it's not enough. How many of us use "est" words when presenting our products or services? You know - Biggest, Fastest, Longest-lasting, or simply - best? These "ests" are so commonplace - so routinely served up (no pun intended) by sales people - that the average prospect has become inured to them. They have no effect - not a positive one, anyway. Quite simply, "est" words mean nothing to a prospect - unless you can back it up with cold, hard, evidence. With beef.

So what's your beef? Your beef is the package of features, benefits, and advantages of your offering that relate to this particular prospect's needs and goals. If you're going to make a claim about your offering, you must be able to back it up. How? Simply state a feature that delivers what you're claiming, describe the benefit the feature provides as it relates to your claim, then - if possible - describe how it meets the prospect's needs better than any other provider's similar feature does. Then nail 'em down to ensure they not only understand what you told them - but that they buy it.

Here's an example: One of my prospects wanted to sharpen his sales team's skills and processes. He was concerned that the training won't "stick" beyond the two-day engagement, because he himself once suffered through a boring "lecture"-type training session before. For him, the most important factor in making sure his investment paid off was that the sessions "engage" his reps. Here's how I handled it:

"So what you're saying is that for training to stick, the sessions have to stimulating, is that correct?" The prospect nods, yes. "Great. You'll be pleased to know that we're known for making participants work - while at the same time learn and have fun. We pride ourselves on providing the most stimulating training sessions for companies your size. Through the use of role play, games, and periodic comprehension checks, we keep your reps focused, engaged, and "into" the training the entire time. Because your reps are actually using the skills taught, not just listening to theoretical concepts, your reps have a high likelihood of retaining, and using what they learn, well beyond the end of the engagement. Better skills, better approaches - more closed business. Here's a quote from the client (I hand him the testimonial). This is what you want from this investment, isn't it?" I concluded.

ACTION ITEM

Next time you're preparing for a presentation, make sure for each claim you make, you back it up with a feature, benefit, and - if possible - an advantage. Then make sure your point is accepted - by all in attendance. Then move on as needed to address other issues the prospect has. Integrate this into your presentations, and you'll see your closing ratios rise, and your income grow.

Oh - and you won't get those, "Where's the beef?" looks from prospects ever again!

Good Selling!



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