Sell More Even When Your Product Is Treated Like a Commodity

Blog thumbnail

Sell More Even When Your Product Is Treated Like a Commodity

Blog thumbnail

If you find yourself shopped on price, you’re not alone.

As our buyers become more educated and have access to more alternatives, more and more salespeople tell me they’re being treated like commodity-sellers.

Unfortunately, many salespeople aren’t doing much to change their buyers’ minds.

Changing the perception of what we sell from a commodity into a solution doesn’t start with our prospects and customers. It doesn’t begin with our talk tracks or differentiators, either. Instead, it starts before we’re ever on the phone with our prospects.

To learn how to change the perception of what we sell into a strategic solution for our customers, we sat down with Brian Harvey, southwest sales leader with Marsh McLennan Agency and former Coastguardsman. He’s in an industry that is usually perceived as a commodity – insurance – and he showed us how he trains his team to reposition their services throughout the sales cycle.

Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.

T – Trigger: Harvey emphasizes beginning this process by looking at your company and existing clients. Ask some critical questions that will allow you to understand how to position yourself and what you sell as a strategic solution.

These questions include learning about how your company is perceived in the market. What are you known for doing well? Who do you have a history of serving? What are you best in class in?

With those answers in hand, you’ll be ready to attack the repeatable part of this process where we’re repositioning you in the marketplace.

R – Repeatable: In the realm of insurance sales, establishing a repeatable process is paramount. Brian shared that this begins by taking your differentiators and asking a simple question: Who cares? There will inevitably be a segment of the market that doesn’t value the things you’re best at, and those won’t be your ideal prospects or customers.

However, there will be a group of people (likely mirrored among your best customers) who value your differentiators. Those are the folks you’ll want to prioritize in your lead generation and outreach.

Next, look at your sales process from lead generation all the way through closing and delivery. How are your differentiators worked in as strategic assets in every stage a prospect goes through? If you’re not leaning on and communicating your strengths in every stage, ensure you’re building those differentiators into your talk tracks, email templates, voicemail scripts and presentations.

Third, examine how you currently communicate your differentiators with your prospects and examine which methods have the highest impact. ‘Light bulbs’ come on for some buyers in certain industries during presentations. For others, it’s during phone calls. For others, it’s in reviewing your material. Discover where and through what medium your prospects connect your differentiators with their desired results and ensure you’re prioritizing that method of communication in each stage of the sale.

Before launching, Brian says to ensure you look at how you’re going to eliminate prospects who don’t value your differentiators. What will be the red flag that tells you you’re barking up the wrong tree, and how will you know this prospect will always see what you sell as a commodity? And what’s your plan to replace them in your pipeline?

I – Improvable:  To improve this system, Brian says to first examine which stage your deals are in when they’re being lost. Are you communicating your differentiators clearly and to the right people? That’s a massive area of improvement for most teams.

Second, improve this system by looking at what you’re selling the most of, and to whom. This will tell you what products and services are highly valued and what type of buyer values them. Prioritize that type of buyer in lead generation and outreach.

Finally, expand your lead pool by asking if there are any other buyer types in other industries that also value your differentiators. That may be a way to open a new market by leaning into your strengths.

M – Measurable: To measure the success of this system, Brian told us to ensure we’re measuring engagement from the first time we present our differentiators until the sale closes. If we’ve selected the right differentiators and the right buyer, we should see a spike in engagement. If we notice engagement dropping off after we’re presented our differentiators, we may not be clearly communicating them or have mismatched them with our buyer type.

Being perceived as a commodity by a new prospect isn’t something we can control – but reshaping it is our responsibility.

Hit Enter to search or Esc key to close