Sales and marketing, Security Staff Acquisition & Development

Sell The Vision (It’s Easier Than Selling the Product)

I’ve never sold a computer or licensed software in my career. I’ve never sold consulting services in my career. Frankly, it’s really difficult selling those things.

Take licensed or even SaaS software products. You have to know about things like GUI’s, software architectures, installation, coding, memory utilization, caching, pipelining, and all sorts of little details. You have to be able to discuss each transaction and how each operation works, and why you chose to implement things the way you have—and why it’s superior to other approaches.

To be effective, you have to know your competition’s products as well. You have to understand the challenges of your customer’s attempts to develop a software program itself.  To sell it, you have to be prepared to work with your customer’s programmer’s and developers discussing things at a detailed level that is beyond my capabilities—or at least my interests.

How Did I Succeed In Sales?

I’ve never sold a computer, licensed software or even consulting services in my career... but I (or the teams I’ve managed) have accepted orders and shipped $ billions of those products.

Instead of selling those products, we focused on creating a vision and selling the vision to the customer. Selling a vision is very different than selling a product, actually I find it’s much easier. A vision is all about a customer. The customer sees themselves at the center of each vision.  They see what they could be achieving through the vision you create.

A vision starts with the challenges or problems in the customer’s current business. It’s about opportunities they may be missing.  It moves on to what they could be achieving and what that means to them.  It focuses on the impact it has on them and their business.  It focuses on their dreams and what they want to achieve–both personally and with their organizations.

A vision engages the customer, they own it for themselves.

Product Quotas vs Vision

You’re probably thinking, “That vision stuff is all great, but my quota is on products!”

Here’s where the magic comes in, your products and services are the vehicle through which they achieve their vision. It’s through buying your computer, software, consulting services, or what ever it is you sell that they can implement and execute their plan.

Yes, they’ll want to learn about the product, but the context is very different. It’s never about the features, functions, feeds and speeds, what your competitors have that yours doesn’t. The context through which they understand your product is in how it helps them achieve their vision.

Yes, they’ll look at competition, they’re obligated to do this. But your competitors are competing on their product features, functions, feeds, and speed.  They haven’t created and helped the customer own the vision.

The customer wants to buy the vision. They can only buy the vision from you, because you are the only one that has the road map for achieving it.

It’s so much easier selling the vision, why waste your time on the product?

David Brock is president of Partners in EXCELLENCE, a management consulting firm focused on sales productivity, channel development, strategic alliances and more. Read more of his blogs here.