Sales. Perhaps the oldest job in the world, because even those jobs that claim to be the oldest, had to market and sell their services.
Sales has undergone radical transformations over the years, with an absolute explosion of new information in psychology, branding, personality evaluations, emotional intelligence. You can even get a PhD in sales with courses covering buyer behaviour, human judgment, professional selling, and on and on.
One of the key aspects taught in sales in business school is the importance of the FAB model. Everything we did centered around it. Feature, Advantage, Benefit. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Here’s an example, let’s say I’m trying to sell you a coffee mug. (Exciting yes I know!) The handle on the mug is a feature, it’s a tangible part of the mug. The fact that you can hold the cup easily is the advantage offered by this state of the art technology, and the fact that you won’t burn your hand is a benefit offered by the handle.
So a sales pitch would go something like this. “This coffee mug comes with a handle, so it’s easy to hold, and you’ll be able to enjoy a nice hot beverage without burning your hand.”
Sounds cheesy (even if we were to upgrade the coffee cup to a private jet), staged (everyone knows and has heard the FAB model) unauthentic (it is a form of script after all) and takes the human element out of the equation.
The alternative I’m proposing is to ditch the model completely or at least switch things around. Start with the benefit, and proceed backwards – IF – and only if they’re interested.
We’re pressed for time, and overloaded with options, so they only way to really stand out is to provide clearly, upfront. What are you offering, and where’s the value to the customer. Speak naturally, conversationally, and authentically. Your customers will appreciate it, and your sales will increase. A reputation built on care and concern for the customer is always worth investing in.