November 13, 2014
Proposals that convert prospects into buyers
By Jeff Mowatt
As a customer, you’ve no doubt received scads of sales pitches from companies trying to sell you something, the vast majority of which you ignore, tune out, or reject outright. When the tables are turned and you are the one making the proposal, there are three key elements you should consider to help make your offer more compelling. These components comprise what’s known as your unique selling proposition or ‘USP.’ When I speak at conferences for sales and service teams, this is one of the simple tips I share for converting prospects into buyers. Whether you’re making your proposal in person, through a brochure, or on your website, you may find you’ll have more impact by including these three elements”¦
Translate features into benefits
Sales often get bogged down in detail when a product or service is overly described in terms of features rather than benefits. A feature is a physical characteristic of a product or service. A benefit is what the features does for the user. For example, a feature of an automatic garage door opener is that when you push a button, the door goes up or down. A benefit is you are not required to get out of your car and be exposed to the weather, you save time, possible back injury, and maybe even reduce dry cleaning bills.
Six magic words
In your proposal, be sure to translate your product or service features into benefits. Here’s an easy way. Briefly mention the feature, then use these six magic words: “What that means to you is”¦” Next, describe the benefit. Translating features into benefits helps potential buyers fully appreciate the value you’re providing.
Describe your difference
Chances are others supply the same products or services you do, so it’s important for customers to know what makes you unique. Rather than trying to explain what you do better than your competition, instead describe what makes you different. This brings us to the third element of crafting your unique selling proposition.
Provide facts, statistics, examples, and testimonials that back up your claims. If your evidence is in the form of a testimonial, be sure to include the client’s full name and company. Otherwise, the ‘fact’ looks like fiction. Obtaining customer endorsements is easy when you do good work. Simply ask for permission from your happy customers to feature their comments. Most people are flattered and happily consent.
Finish with what comes next
If your proposal is in writing, be clear about the next step. Tell the customer what you want them to do, i.e. visit your website, phone you, and/or stop in. If appropriate, also explain what they’ll gain by doing this sooner rather than later. Perhaps there’s a limited supply or the offer ends at a certain date. You can also outline options for implementing. I don’t recommend, however, getting too detailed with implementation plans at this phase. Better to do that after the customer decides they want to move on to the next step.
There are lots of other pieces of information you can include in your proposal. Certainly, your knowledge of your customers’ circumstances and challenges is a good place to start. Just make sure when you get into the substance of your proposal that you add the unique selling proposition’s three elements. Chances are, you’ll address a lot of the buyer’s unexpressed objections and help them feel more comfortable doing business with you.
Jeff Mowatt is a customer service strategist, award-winning speaker, and bestselling author. For more tips, training tools, or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team, visit www.JeffMowatt.com.
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