We’re fans of Jeff Thull here at The Hire Sense and his latest article on the Salesopedia.com only supports our belief. Anyone who has been in sales longer than a day has seen a sea change in the customer relationship over the past couple of years. Rapid commoditization is a huge problem even for “unique” solutions.
Here is the crux of what is happening (emphasis mine):
Seeking competitive differentiation through increasing uniqueness and complexity can be a deadly double-edged sword, especially if building that differentiation exceeds the needs and understanding of your customers. You and your competition may believe you have a high-value product or service, but if your customers can’t comprehend, calculate or measure that value, they see a sameness and will respond by ignoring the features they do not need or simply won’t care.
Many sales hours are wasted building differentiation that may, or may not, be of vital interest to the prospect. This is also known as qualifying and it is in great demand in this economy.
Thull provides 4 suggestions for handling the downward spiral to commoditization. Here is a taste of one suggestion:
In the complex sale, the search for a mythical buyer – “the decision maker” – is fruitless. Today the majority of decisions, quality decisions, are the result of a consensus building effort – an effort that the best of sales professionals orchestrate with multiple people either deciding on or influencing the decision to buy. It is your responsibility to manage the issues of the transaction from multiple perspectives. You must connect your unique value offer to each individual in the context of his or her job responsibilities and their own self-interest. Using the same approach from middle management up through the C-Level will prove to be futile.