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Why You Don’t Have to Have the Best Offering to Win Sales

There was an interesting comment on yesterday’s post. The comment suggested that you should sell for the company that has the best offering instead of trying getting better at selling inferior products.

First, the “best” offering is surely subjective. Baskin Robbins makes 31 flavors for a reason; not everybody wants chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. Second, and more importantly, when it comes to business-to-business sales, there are a lot of differences that make the difference.

Here are a few reasons this is true, saving the most important for last!

All Models Are Not the Same

The idea that there is a single best offering is false on it’s face. There are different business models, and there are companies and offerings that are built to serve them. These models don’t mix and match well.

If you sell product, service, or solution with a value proposition that is lowest price, your offering will surely appeal to people who also have an operational excellence, or low price model. This market has to preserve its margins by always buying lowest price; it’s hard for them to do anything else.

A no frills, low cost, low touch offering isn’t designed, nor does it serve, clients who want a customer intimacy model (clients who want high touch, a strategic relationship, etc.). These clients want more and will pay more to get it.

There are market segments within market segments. Your offering, and I don’t care what it is you sell, is wrong for many of these segments. Which is why we disqualify mercilessly and focus.

All Needed Outcomes Are Not the Same

Not every prospective client needs exactly the same outcomes. Sometimes what you sell can be a strategic purchase for some buyers, and a meaningless transactional purchase for other buyers. These clients need very different outcomes.

You may sell for the company that has the best offering for some outcomes, but does a horrible job with other outcomes. Lots of companies that have a value proposition that kill it for enterprise clients where they produce amazing outcomes. These same companies have almost no ability at all to translate that value to transactional clients. There just isn’t any “there” there.

Believing you have the best offering requires that you believe everyone has exactly the same set of needs, wants, and values. The best offering doesn’t produce equal outcomes for all clients; they want different things, and nobody is the best at everything.

Not Everyone Is Equally Committed to Producing Outcomes

Especially when it comes to the service industry, people can make an incredible and enormous difference in producing a client’s needed outcomes. Sometimes the “best” product, service, or solution is sold and delivered by very different and very unequal groups of people.

The very best offering may be a ragtag, motley crew of wildly passionate people that are Hell bent on producing the needed outcome and delivering the solution.

On paper, their offering may not look even close to the slick, coiffed, and packaged offering of larger, better-financed competitors. When it comes to execution, it isn’t about the packaging—it’s about what’s inside.

Believing there is a single best offering takes people out the equation. People are the equation.

It Means Salespeople Can Make No Difference

I saved this last point, the most important, for last.

To believe that you have to have—or even should have—the very best offering to be able to make selling easy is to believe that salespeople don’t make the difference. It is your job and your duty as a salesperson to be that difference.

Great salespeople outperform other salespeople because they make a difference for their dream clients. They find a way to make their offering the very best offering for their dream client. They work to create more value with their offering than their competitors, even competitors who make look like they have a greater value proposition. They work within their own companies to ensure that they execute and perform and deliver.

You must believe that what you sell can make a difference. You are—or you could be—the best offering.

Questions

Do you have to have the best offering to sell well and to sell effectively?

How do different business models require different value propositions from their partners?

Do all clients need the same exact outcomes? Do they all need the outcomes delivered in the very same way using the very same methods?

What difference do people make when it comes to delivering and executing for your dream clients?

What difference do you make as a salesperson towards you and your company being the best offering?

Comments

comments

  • Tim Mushey

    Great post Anthony! I especially liked the part about salespeople being able to be the difference. This point is so accurate. In many competitive situations where products are very similar, the sales rep can be the breaking point for a potential customer’s decision. If price is similar, product is similar etc, why would you not go with the company that you had the best experience with their rep? You hit the nail on the head with one point. You have to believe that you can be the difference, and outperform your competitor’s reps every day. Thanks again for your input!

    • http://www.thesalesblog.com S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Tim. If you read Howard Steven’s Achieve Sales Excellence, the research shows that salespeople are big part of the decision to buy. We make the difference–and we have to believe and act is we make the difference. 

      • Tim Mushey

        Thanks Anthony! I will definitely check out that book. Appreciate your feedback.

  • Maria Talacona

    Hi Anthony, great posts. I have a question. As a sales person I know my competition, what they offer, their general price points, what’s attractive about them and how we compare or don’t compare. So given that, what are your feelings about this, I have a potential customer and during my discovery we were not a perfect match. Price for one was an issue for him, and he really didn’t need all we provide at this time for his business. How would you feel if I referred him to the “competition”  that maybe a better fit for him at this time? And how would management feel about this? My feelings are, I never want to over sale for the sake of a sale, I always want the client to be the winner, even if it appears I loose. I believe in ‘Value Centered Business Solutions’.  I know I am not every companies dream sales rep. But I sleep well at night, and perform even better tomorrow. Your comments on this will be helpful.

  • http://www.ogosense.com Ogy Nikolic

    Hey, that’s one of the best posts Anthony I have read on your blog so far! WoW.

    • http://www.thesalesblog.com S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Ogy!