How to Find the Compelling Reasons for Seth Godin’s Intangibles

Seth Godin’s recent column on Intangibles was great.  As a matter of fact, I haven’t disagreed in more than two years with anything he has written  about selling.  Today he provided many examples – great examples – of how your intangibles create value.  I’d like to explain how your salespeople can uncover these, and other reasons why prospects would pay more to do business with you.

It all begins with the environment your salespeople create with their prospects.   I’m talking about the relationship your salespeople develop, their ability to show they care about their prospect and the role they play in their business, and their ability to create trust.  It is only in this environment that your salespeople can ask dozens of good, tough, timely questions.

Those questions have to be better and tougher than anyone else’s. Here’s an example and you can apply this example to your business by substituting what your prospects usually decide to do for the one in this example, and then punch holes as I do below:

Your Salesperson: It sounds like you’ve determined that you need to advertise on the web rather than in print, but I’m curious  – how did you reach that decision?

Prospect: Well, we just know that more people are on the web than reading print publications.

Your Salesperson: It’s true – sometimes.  Tell me, who do you need to reach?

Prospect: Our target audience is men 45-70.

Your Salesperson: Why are they your target?

Prospect: They always have been.

Your Salesperson: But aren’t women more likely to buy it for their men than men are to buy it for themselves?

Prospect: Great question.  I guess they are.

Your Salesperson: And what happens if you fail to target the right audience?

Prospect: We’ll waste our ad money.

Your Salesperson: How much would you guess you wasted over the last five years?

Prospect: Most of it.

Your Salesperson: And how much is that?

Prospect: Several hundred thousand dollars.

Your Salesperson: Is that alot of money for you?

Prospect: Yes – it’s huge.

Your Salesperson: Would you like to fix that problem?

Prospect: Yes, very much.

Your Salesperson: Would you like my help?

Prospect: Yes.

Your Salesperson: Are you willing to spend a little more with me to get the problem fixed, the right way, once and for all?

Prospect: Yes, certainly, if it solves the problem.

So rather than presenting how great your ability is to place web advertising, and rather than providing prices for web advertising, the salesperson asks questions to identify a problem (wrong demographic) the prospect wasn’t aware of along with a compelling reason (wasting ad money) to do business with this salesperson alone (SOB Quality) – because of the questions that were asked.  If the salesperson now recommends print advertising as a solution to the problem, it will be accepted as expert advice in the context of a problem to be solved.

How is this different from what your salespeople are doing?