You’ll find it on the sugary cereal aisle of your local supermarket. You’ll also find it on the toothpaste aisle, as you try to avoid the resulting cavities. In case you do get a cavity, you’ll also find that something as you search for a local dentist within 10 miles on Google. What am I talking about? As researcher Barry Schwartz calls it, that something is “choice overload,” or even “choice paralysis.”
Choice overload describes a cognitive process in which people have a difficult time making a decision when faced with too many options. The resulting effects of choice overload are feeling tired, unhappy, and sometimes an urge to avoid making a choice altogether.
It’s not just about consumer products and our consumption lifestyle. Decision-makers in business, particularly when making B2B decisions, are among the most affected. If you are in sales, chances are your competition is relentlessly hitting prospects’ inboxes, LinkedIn messages, and now even Google calendars right this moment. As a result, your prospect’s choice overload situation can overwhelm him from your very first interaction.
So what can you do to break through the noise and get better outcomes?
When business leaders don’t know what decision to make, they’ll typically resort to feature checklists or pricing comparisons. The sales person’s job is to uncover the WHY. Why is this important to the company and contact? What happens if they don’t solve their problem? Why is this solution better than all the rest out there?
Today’s sales reps can stand out from the fierce competition if they focus on selling a custom-feeling, singular solution for their prospect—solving the exact needs of that company at that time. The question is: How do you get there?
- Research the right things. Average salespeople’s research focuses on the company being in existence, and who to call. The expert salesperson does homework for an understanding that the company indeed has a problem that you can solve.
- Stick to the main point. Ask a few precise (challenging) questions to uncover the number one issue and focus on that. Take note of other company challenges and goals and how they all work together, but identify one clear goal as the highest priority.
- Present one complete, awesome solution. Position and tailor your solution to solve their actual pain. Paint the picture! And show them how to win. While many sales reps will discuss an overview of all the capabilities of a product and what stands out to them, an expertly-tailored sale involves discussing the most valuable features of the solution to this particular business and why. So, that means getting granular about segmentation capabilities for a company that has a lot of different subsets in their audience demographics but emphasizing this less for a brand that knows their audience and has a very targeted, niche following.
Selling today is hard and competitive. If you’re not careful, “success” usually comes down to features and pricing showdowns. But if everyone is doing the same things, standing out is easy. Focus on solving the unique pain. Be the single solution in a sea of confusing choices, and you will stand out.