The difference between winning and losing any sales deal you are working on is 1%.
Close your eyes and think back for a moment about every order that you have won. Or lost. Or better yet, think back to the first really big order that you won. That was a moment to savor, wasn’t it? You probably crushed the competition, right? So, let me ask you a question: how much better than your competitors were you? After all, the customer had to have had a compelling reason to choose you. Were you 75% better than your competitors? 50%? 25%? 10%? Did it matter?
Now, let’s go back and remember that big order you lost. The one that you thought for sure you were going to win. But didn’t. Was the winning competitor chosen by the customer 100% better than you? 50%? How about 5% better? Does the margin of victory matter? Not at all. Because you only have provide 1% more value than the competition to win the deal.
Customer decisions usually come down to the small stuff.
You would like to believe that you have provided your prospects with a compelling and highly differentiated value proposition. And that the decision to buy from you is not even a close call. But, it doesn’t work that way. In a globalized economy where there are increasing numbers of competitors in every category and when the differences between products are narrowing, not growing, it becomes increasingly difficult for customers to differentiate between products and services. If sellers increasingly all look alike to buyers, how big of a margin of incremental value do you really need to offer to win an order?
As you sell it helps if you think about the fact that the difference between winning a sale or losing a sale will likely be a razor thin margin. Plus or minus 1%. You only have to be perceived to be 1% better than the alternative products or services your prospect is considering in order to win their business.
The key question is: Do you know what you need to do to provide that extra one percent?
What is that 1% more value that you can provide to help your customer justify the decision to buy from you? Think about the customer’s evaluation and decision-making process like preparing the batter for your favorite cake (the flavor is up to you. Though I like chocolate.) The first things that go into your mixing bowl are the wet ingredients. You turn on your mixer to blend those together and then add your sugar and flour bit by bit until everything is smoothly combined. And then at the end, dashes of favorite spices are added here and there. These are the baker’s secret ingredients that make the ultimate difference in how the cake tastes.
Similarly, your prospect starts their evaluation of your proposal by throwing into the mixing bowl the information they gleaned from your website and any content they downloaded online. When that is mixed together they add in your proposal or quotes along with references and endorsements. At the end they toss in the value-added insights and the overall buying vision you provided along with dashes of their gut feeling, intuition and perception about you and your offer.
It is in these final additions that your incremental value can make all the difference. Did you respond more quickly and completely to their inquiries and questions? Did you provide tangible value at each step of their buying process? Did you ask perceptive questions about their requirements? Did you provide a new insight into their business that helped them better understand their requirements? Did you require a smaller investment of their time than the competition? Did you make it easy for them to make the decision to do business with you? It all adds up.
1% more value added at the right time can make a 100% difference.
Andy Paul is author of the award-winning book, Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s Sales. A sought-after speaker and business coach, Andy conducts workshops, coaches and consults with CEOs and sales teams to teach them how to maximize the value and power of their selling to rapidly increase their sales. Enjoy what you just read? Sign up for our regular digest of valuable and practical sales tips and strategies, “Selling with Maximum Impact.”
© Andy Paul 2014