In this chapter, we’re going to pick up on a theme introduced earlier: the need to focus on how a customer might use a product—growing out of conversations about that customer’s needs—rather than on a presentation of a product’s features.
Here’s a question you might want to ask us, at this point: Is Customer Focused Selling applicable in a range of situations? For example, is it applicable when a product is viewed as a commodity with no distinguishing features?
Our methodology is based in large part on our recent experiences, many of which have involved selling information technology at the enterprise level. But the principle of positioning offerings applies whether you are trying to make an enterprise sale for an intangible offering, selling the phone company’s services, or helping a bank that is trying to cross-sell additional features or services directly to consumers.
Over the years, we have worked with a wide range of companies in a variety of industries. These have included professional services providers, retail banks, companies offering credit card sales to merchants, overnight delivery services, and temporary housing providers, to name a few. All benefited from our approach, even in cases where the offering was only one of many in a crowded field of entries. In fact, our experience suggests that in situations where the offering is perceived as a commodity—that is, interchangeable with the competition—the most powerful differentiator is the buyer’s experience with the salesperson or sales process.