By Jeff Shore
Customer Experience
You’re in the market for a car. You do your research online, you talk to friends, and you pay more attention to commercials than you normally would.

You show up at a dealership. You casually mention your mild interest in the new Bodacious 300 model.

That’s when the salesperson takes over, sharing everything you wanted to know (which really isn’t much) and a whole lot of stuff you didn’t want to know.

“This beauty sports a 2.0-liter TFSI engine boosted output to an incredible 248 horsepower with a peak torque of 272 pounds per foot, but you can upgrade to the 282-hp 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 if you want maximum torquage.”

And he is just getting started!

You might as well get comfortable; this tech spec diatribe is going to go on for a while.

The Common Error in Sales

This story repeats itself over and over in sales environments all around the world. The pattern is universally consistent:

  • Salesperson goes to product training.
  • Salesperson soaks it in, takes notes, and passes a quiz.
  • Salesperson becomes a walking technical brochure.

Problem: that’s not how your customer wants to buy. In fact, it’s not even close.

Customers only want to know how your product will improve their lives. Their mission is not education (beyond perhaps a few simple questions). They are primarily concerned with solving some significant problem in their lives.

Why Salespeople Feature Dump

Feature dumping is always a result of the same fundamental sales flaw: a shallow understanding of your customer.

Think about it. You wouldn’t feature dump to your sister, would you? Of course not. You would talk about her life, her mission, and her needs.

If you ever find yourself feature dumping (and subsequently losing your buyer’s enthusiasm) recognize the fact that you just failed to connect with your customer’s emotional dissatisfaction.

Awkward Silence – the Opposite of Feature Dumping

The polar opposite of feature-dumping is awkward silence. You’ll know this is happening when the salesperson says something like, “Take a look and let me know if you have any questions.”

I was recently in a mattress store when a salesperson delivered that line and then proceeded to just stand around – always five beds away from where I was. (Note: Sales stalking creeps people out!)

Which of these two approaches is more frustrating for a customer. Uhhhh…who cares?

Selling the Way a Customer Wants to Buy

1. Think Experiences Rather than Features

Your customers could care less about features…until they understand how those features lead to better experiences.

Think back to the tech specs mentioned previously. Those features might actually mean something if shared in the context of the buyer’s desired future experience.

Think about the problem your customer is trying to solve and the life they’re hoping to experience. Then talk to them in that language. Your customer will thank you for it.

2. Get Excited About the Customer, not the Product

Think about the most enjoyable parts of your current presentation. Then ask if that enjoyment is product-based or customer-based. If you’re doing it right, your presentation will favor the customer.

Think about starting your sentences with some version of, “Let me tell you why you will appreciate this…” You will force yourself to speak in the customer’s experiential language.

3. Know Everything; Share What Matters

Finally, I’m all for extensive product knowledge. I’m only opposed to sharing all you know.

The adage I teach (and have taught for years) is… Know everything – share what matters.

And what matters?

That is entirely dependent upon the customer. If it matters to them, share it. If you’re not sure, save it.

The fact is, a customer-centered demonstration is a lot more enjoyable for both the customer and for you.

Have some fun with this. Change up your style. Start selling the way a customer wants to buy and enjoy the buying process with your customer.