The Problem with Selling Great Products

September 05, 2014 | Wendy Goeckel
The Problem with Selling Great Products

Not the worst problem to have…

I’m the head of sales enablement at Brainshark. And I love our product. It’s why I joined – super easy to use to create and manage great content. Genius in its simplicity with functionality for days.

At Brainshark, our sales reps love our product too, and they tend to have great first calls. They can get a prospect excited about Brainshark, talk about how easy it is to create video presentations, all its possible uses, and everyone leaves the meeting pumped.

So how in the world could this even be a problem?

But it is. And it is a problem that many selling organizations share. Some sales guys even have a name for it – “second call stall.” It’s when you like your products SO MUCH that you want to talk about them, and because they’re cool, your prospects are willing to listen – to a point.  

In the case of “second call stall,” after that good first meeting, the conversation ends. Phone calls are not returned, emails are ignored. Why? Because when we focus on the product and not the customer, after the initial excitement wears off, so does their interest.

The challenge is connecting the product’s possibility to the customer’s reality. As salespeople, the customer won’t buy it as a solution unless we have identified the problem that they are trying to solve and have reached a shared understanding of how we will help them solve it. And if we start with showing off features and demoing capabilities, we will never connect the dots between our customer’s challenges and our solution.

It’s an easy trap to fall into, especially when the person you are talking to is smiling and nodding their head in agreement when you show them your product. Fortunately, the answer to this isn’t so difficult either.

First and foremost, focus the conversation on the customer’s challenges, and reach agreement on the problem you are trying to solve and the value of solving it. Then shift the demo from being a review of features/functions to an in-context demonstration of the solution to that problem.

I know that this is easier said than done

We are always working to provide better tools and training for our own sales force. If the sales rep is out of their comfort zone, is ill-prepared for the sales conversation, or isn’t listening in a way that helps them focus on a specific problem, they will typically default to the product and ramble about feature function—and their audience, in turn, will tune out.

That is why focusing on the prospect is imperative.

It’s listening. It’s practice. It’s preparation. It’s being comfortable having the conversation. And it’s hard… but it will help win more deals. 

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