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Dialog 4 : "We Have Everything We Need Right Now"

Scenario

You're making a round of cold calls and the dialog turns to the classic "We have everything we need right now." This response could mean several different things, including "I don't see the importance of this product," or "I don't see how my company will profit from using it." Or "I don't want to waste money." Or "I'm not in a position to buy right now."

Strategies

At the start of your call, you will of course try to hook your prospect's interest with a novel pitch. You'll follow up by citing your product's best benefits and the needs it fulfills. Sometimes with a newer product, consumers have to be educated about its benefits before they can really understand how it will address their needs. Accordingly, you'll try to find the most compelling ways to convey that information through a By-Product-Benefits strategy. If you reach a dead end in all your efforts because a prospect truly does have everything he needs, your call can still be fruitful: Use it to generate new leads with the "Okay But Refer Me" strategy.

Insights

"In the factory we make cosmetics, but in my stores we sell hope."
—Charles Revson of Revlon Cosmetics

Experience Shows

If you're looking for materials to document issues that relate to, and support, your product's benefits, check out these Internet sources: http://www.webmd.com, http://www.healthfinder.gov, http://www.wsj.com, http://www.cnn.com, and http://www.newshub.com.

Experience Shows

Customers often have to be educated about the "need" for certain products. For example, no one "needed" a cell phone or personal computer 20 years ago, but as people came to understand their benefits and accept their costs as reasonable, demand grew.

Further Considerations

Consider all the possible by-product benefits that your products supply. See if you can find some current research studies or general articles that relate to those benefits. Get copies of the articles or list the study highlights, and have these materials available to give or send to your prospects.

Figure 3.4 We Have Everything We Need Right Now.

Also consider what it might cost your prospects to be without your product (for example, stress, absenteeism, morale, productivity). See if you can attach a dollar figure to any of these costs.

What the Experts Say

Abraham Maslow, one of the founders of humanistic psychology, devised a hierarchy of needs based on the notion that as one level of needs is satisfied in the individual, another level of needs emerges. Starting at the bottom of the hierarchy, needs consist of: physiological needs (food, water, shelter); safety needs (security, stability, order); belongingness and love needs (to give and receive affection); esteem needs (competence, self-confidence, respect, recognition); and self-actualization needs (following one's talents, gifts, interests).

Consider future trends. How will your product or service benefit customers whose current lifestyle or business environment is changing? How will it continue to benefit them in the future? As technology impacts our lives to a greater extent, will it address any new needs that are developing?

Think about purchases you've made that fulfilled a less obvious need. How were you convinced of that? Can you apply anything from that experience to your own selling practices?

What the Exemplars Do

3M Corporation's experience with Post-it Notes provides an inspiring example of perseverance in establishing a need. The initial reaction to this product was not promising because people could not see much of a need for the little restickable papers. 3M had presented the idea to office-supply distributors and received an unfavorable response. It then conducted market surveys that also produced negative results. Finally, it sent sample Post-it Note pads directly to the secretaries of Fortune 500 CEOs. It was only then that the product began to be viewed favorably. Post-it Notes have gone on to become one of the most successful products in the company's history.

Ask Yourself

  • Do I have a list of my product's benefits on paper or in my head?
  • Do I have a comparable list of costs; that is, what kinds of burdens or inefficiencies might a buyer incur if he went without my product? Such a list is handy to have, along with supporting articles or documents.
  • Do I spend time with the end users of my products so I can get a better idea of what their problems are and what solutions I might provide?
  • Problems reveal needs. Am I attuned to the problems, difficulties, snags, and inefficiencies that occur while taking care of my own personal business? Do I analyze any business transactions I have that are particularly difficult or particularly smooth in order to determine what makes them so?
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