Is it easier to sell a product or service? “It’s easier to sell a product because you have something you can actually show the prospect”. “Oh no, it’s much easier to sell a service because you can really sell them on the features and benefits!”.
Guess what, you’re both wrong! You are never selling a product or a service, you are only selling what the product or service can do for your prospect. The solution your customer perceives is the problem to the problem they are experiencing is the only one that matters. What your product or service does is irrelevant, until the prospect tells you what actually is relevant.
We have a friend named Rich. Rich and I had a discussion one night at dinner on this very subject. Rich told me he could ‘never’ (and I love that word) sell a service because a product is so much easier.
“Why is that?” I asked.
“It’s just easier to compare when you have something in your hands. You can show your products ‘features and benefits’, (another of my favorite terms) and really compare apples to apples against your competitor” Rich stated proudly
“Rich, how do you know what ‘apples’ they want in the first place? What if they want oranges? “Oh I ask them up front what their needs are and then I show the differences”.
“So, I’m confused, why can’t you do that with a service?”
“Well Greta I guess you can but it’s easier with a service”…
“OK Rich, I got it” even though I didn’t but at this point, my husband was kicking me under the table to leave it alone.
In sales you are a matchmaker of sorts. Your job is to uncover as much about the prospects issues as they see them and the effect these issues are having on them and their company. Additionally if nothing changes, what are the re-percussions of that? Once you have a good understanding of what that is, you will recommend the proper solution, irrespective of the product or service.
Often salespeople misunderstand the word “benefits” for solutions. Feature and benefits selling is typically is a pre-set dissertation of what the prospect should see as a benefit, not what they decide is a benefit. For example if you say “the feature of this copy-machine is the speed of the copies and the benefit is you can get them faster and have your copies ready earlier”. Well, if you don’t have an issue with time and you issue is something completely different like ease of use, who really cares about your “benefit”?
If you are selling properly, it shouldn’t matter whether it is a product or a service because what you are really selling is what the client is ultimately looking for, not how you get there.
Anyone can “demo” a product or talk “features and benefits” but a real pro only gives solutions to the issues the prospect is talking about, no more and no less.