Written by Sean McPheat |
Look up the word ‘commodity’ and you’ll find definitions like “a basic good used in commerce that is interchangeable with other commodities of the same type” or “a type of widely-available product that is not markedly dissimilar from one unit to another.”
Another definition may be, “a product that is the same as other products of the same type from other producers”.
The common thread here is the similarity of each product classed as a commodity.
In fact, the biggest differential often comes down to price.
If the buyer cannot differentiate between your products and a competitors’ then oftentimes price will be the determining factor for the sale.
What do you say, then, when a potential buyer says, “why should I buy from you?”
Do you fall into the trap of stating features and benefits?
Do you start to rattle off what your product will do over the product they are currently using?
The big danger with this is that it turns what you have into a commodity, something that will be compared with your competitors’ products and services.
You need to take the buyer’s mind away from the products you are offering.
Your answer to the question of why should I buy from you should be along the lines of “We can solve the issues you currently have better or differently than our competitors.
But until I know what those issues are, I can’t tell you why you should buy from us.
Is it OK if we go through some ways we can help you and see if there’s a compelling reason for us to work together?”
What you’re doing here is moving the buyer’s mind away from thinking of your products and services, and thinking about you helping him to solve his current problems and creating a better future.
As long as the focus is on products, the buyer will be in comparison mode and will look to see what is better or worse about your solution.
The way to decommoditise your products and services is to identify the prospect’s biggest pains – and then show how you can solve it better than anyone else can.
Remember we said that commodities can usually be differentiated by price?
This journey takes the emphasis away from things that can be compared, and onto the results the buyer will get if they choose your offering.
Think about how you can de-commoditise your products.
What aspects of what you sell could be taken out of the realm of being compared on price?
What have you got that can add value to the buyer’s business or change their lives in a different way to your competitors’?
By doing this kind of thinking, you move away from the world of comparative pricing and move toward the solution-discovery that will mean a whole lot more to the businesses you are dealing with.
Originally published: 21 April, 2016