Today we have a guest post from Alan Sipe, President of Toolbox sales and consulting. Alan has over 40 years of experience including Sr. VP of Sales and Marketing for Klein Tools and President of Knipex Tools. His insights in selling through various distribution channels and professional contractors are invaluable. Alan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, why isn’t your new Super-Duper Widget selling?
Your Research Department talked to your users and found a need. Product Development and Design took that information and developed the world’s best Super-Duper Widget. Marketing put together literature and an excellent introduction display and sales package. Sales developed a forecast and Production has plenty of Super-Duper Widgets in stock. Literature, samples, promotional material and quotas went out to your Manufacturer’s Representatives … right on time.
Now you only have one little problem … your fabulous new Super-Duper Widgets are not selling into distribution at anywhere near projections.
You did everything right … Right?
There is a mistaken opinion that as soon as you give someone the title salesperson they immediately are professional Super-Duper Widget salespeople … you couldn’t be more wrong!
Whether your sales staff is your own or if you use independent reps. Here are some things to consider:
The first thing to consider (no matter what they tell you)is that as a Manufacturer’s Representative they represent many lines and no one can intuitively be an expert in all things.
Mary may be an excellent salesperson and has great relationships with all her customers and gets good repeat orders but doesn’t do well with new products.
Harry is an engineer and may be an excellent weekend mechanic having the ability to fix anything but when he presents something he gets so much into the minor details that the average customer just mentally turns him off.
Jerry is your company weatherman/sport reporter. He makes all his calls talking about today’s weather, last night’s baseball game and anything else but product. His best closing statement is “do you have any orders for me today?”
No wonder you have a new product sales problem!
You have a sales team who has cool literature, a shiny sample and a good promotion all running around making calls but you have no idea how they are presenting your new product.
Certainly there are some salespeople who are demonstration/presentation experts and can take your literature, develop an excellent presentation and have sales success. BUT THEY ARE IN THE MINORITY!
The majority of the salespeople out in the field will walk into a prospect’s office, sit down, slide a piece of literature or the sample across the desk and start parroting exactly what the prospect can read for himself.
Unless the prospect is intimately involved with using this type of product the odds of him understanding and purchasing your product are slim to none. Many of the individuals your salespeople call on have never used a Widget in their lives yet they are making the decision to purchase your product or not.
Here are 3 tips to improve new product launches:
- With each new product introduction, provide your sales team an old-fashioned, yet very effective, Feature Advantage Benefit (FAB) list in the sequence you want your team to demonstrate the product. Do you expect or want your team using this script word for word like a record player? (Sorry…digital recording.) No, but this will give them a track to run on and it gives you a certain amount of control and direction of what they are saying.
- Include a list of common objections and the proper response, such as: Your price is too high, I stock something similar, what is your return program, how will you help us sell this, etc.
- If you really want to be slick, make a sales demonstration video of a great FAB demonstration. This is not an expensive video for the prospects to see, this is a sales presentation video educating your team on how to present the product and close the sale.
Your product introduction has a much better chance of success if all your sales team is singing the same FAB tune.
For more information here is an excellent video on FAB selling.