Ever been a customer on a long, boring sales call that had your mind drifting away?
Of course you have. And it’s really no fun. The sales guy is going on and on about all these features that his product has, showing you all kinds of “neat”, “cool”, and “brand new” stuff that his software can do. You’re on mute for most of the call, briefly chiming in to say “yep, makes sense,” just to be polite. If you have two monitors, you’re furiously catching up on email on the other one and wishing you had a wireless headset so you could go walk to the water cooler while on the call.
So how did you get here? After all, you agreed to take this call. At one point, you had a problem that you thought this sales person could solve. But then the rep was off to the races. Your problem was in the rear-view mirror, and you’re suddenly in for a 60 minute feature blast. As a result, you’ve lost interest in the call altogether. The sales rep’s ability to solve your problem is no longer worth the new pain he’s creating: wasting your time.
When the call ends, you say thanks and tell him to follow up next week. You hope he doesn’t.
At the end of the month, the sales rep’s manager asks him to do a post mortem on this lost opportunity. If he’s smart, he will realize one thing: my 4th feature killed this deal.
I remember the first demo I ran at my prior company. Right before I got some advice from our head of product that has served me well every day since. He pulled me aside and said “Jim, don’t go onto this call trying to show them all seven of our features. The perfect demo is when you only show them the two features that they need to buy.”
Going into a sales call, I aim to show two, maybe three, features on the demo. During the discovery portion of the call, my goal is to figure out which two or three features are needed to get them to buy. In the story I just told, we only had seven features when we started. Fast forward three years, and we had over 450 (yes, they kept count). This makes it both tougher and more important to focus on just 2 or 3. Trust me, no matter how great your product is, 450 features will scare even the hottest prospects away.
So stick to this simple rule: no more than 3 features on your sales calls. Focus on the things that solve your customer’s pain and ONLY the things that solve that pain. Once you’re there, just stop. Until the prospect begs for you to show them more, don’t do it. If they are asking for more, take it as an opportunity to revisit your discovery process and understand why they are asking. Then focus on the customer pain and the value you provide, not all those cool new features.