Markets are competitive. I can’t think of a market that doesn’t include a number of vendors or suppliers who compete for market share.
A truth that’s often ignored or misunderstood is most companies who compete in a given market look alike to the people who make purchase decisions and ultimately buy.
Buyers don’t see much difference between one company and another
Companies think they’re different when comparing themselves to others in their market. Reality is the things we offer look stunningly alike to the people who matter most — those whose opinion is voiced with dollars. The difference we tout to buyers are often subtle, convincingly argued as pluses and minuses by one vendor when comparing themselves to another.
Buyers get confused in our presentation — we sound alike, look alike, and the difference between us isn’t that great or significant as to compel a decision one way or another. This leads to buying decisions more often than not based on who responds first and a gut feeling one vendor is better than the other. For sellers, this leads to sporadic sales and unpredictable growth.
It’s not the buyer’s fault they’re confused — it’s the sellers problem, based on the inability to articulate why dollars should be spent on them as opposed to their competition.
All buyer questions are rooted in search of the compelling reason to buy from you
Whether overtly asked or not, the question lingering in the mind of the buyer is Why should I buy from you? That question is what drives all other questions in the buying process: price, service, warranty, guarantee, limitations, exclusions, add-ons, experience, references, feature lists, supported protocols, etc.
Buyers are seeking the answer to the question Why you? And as sellers, we’re giving them lame answers from our perspective of the sale, never really providing a satisfactory answer.
The simple test everyone in sales should be able to pass
A test for all sales reps, management, and client-facing staff is to off the cuff answer the simple question Why should I buy from you? That’s the question prospects are asking themselves — the answer they’re seeking to feel confident making the purchase.
Here is a list of unacceptable answers to that question:
- We’re the market leader
- We’ve been your supplier for the past x years
- We have a world-class customer service and support organization
- We support the latest features and functionality
- We’re the low cost provider
- We’re the greatest value supplier
The answers above are unacceptable because they lack definition that leads to meaningful difference between competing offers. They are empty answers without value to the buying party — offered here as a list because they’re commonly offered as the reason to buy from a particular company.
Correct answers to the question Why should I buy from you? come the worldview of the buying party, presenting a compelling story of why your solution is purpose-built to serve the underlying interest, need, and obtainable desires of your target audience.
Signs of not being able to pass the test
Knowing the answer to the question of Why should I buy from you? is important — it closes the sale, grabs market share, and enables consistent and predictable growth. When you can’t convincingly answer the question, sale teams and business leaders share these ongoing, frustrating experiences:
- Our prospective customers don’t get it
- We shouldn’t be competing on price, but we always do
- We know we’re better than our competitors, but we can’t convince people of that
- Our website is missing something — I’m not sure what it is, but it doesn’t pop
- We contact a lot of people, but aren’t having as many sales meeting as we should
- Some of our sales opportunities just disappear
- Our sales forecast changes every week…our business is unpredictable
When you can’t satisfactorily answer that simple question, prospects genuinely don’t get it and can’t recognize anything unique about you or your offer — they revert to gut feeling and price rises in the hierarchy of their purchase decision. You’re reduced to a commodity: evaluated on price, availability, and convenience.
Things you need to do
If you’re having trouble answering the question Why should I buy from you? there are two things you should do 1) get versed in your core story 2) redefine your sales approach — stop selling things and instead focus on things you do for your clients.
I can help with both.
Please contact me to learn how communicating your unique value with your target audience can lead to predictable, sustainable growth in your business — reducing the pressure to discount while shortening your sales cycle, and increasing your close ratio.
There are no silver bullets to marketing and sales success, but there are proven methods to communicate with target audiences in a meaningful way that can result in spectacular returns.
Are you satisfied with your answer to that simple question? Why should I buy from you?