CREATING PRODUCT
SOLUTIONS
Concepts and Practices
Product Strategy Defined
6-2
“The product strategy is a well-conceived plan that
emphasizes becoming a product expert, selling
benefits, and configuring value-added solutions.”
Strategic/Consultative
Selling Model
FIGURE
6.1
6-3
Solutions
Are mutually shared answers to
recognized customer problems
 Are more encompassing than specific
products
 Provide measurable results
 Require a greater effort to define and
diagnose the customer’s problems

6-4
Tailoring the Product Strategy

The product strategy should be tailored to the
customer’s buying needs
FIGURE
6.2
6-5
Tabasco
6-6
Explosion of Product Options



More than 30,000 consumer products are turned out
each year
The good news is: greater consumer choice
The bad news is: with more choice, buying process is
more complicated
6-7
Product Configuration


Shows how different parts of your product mix can
combine to solve the customer’s problem
Product configuration software
 Incorporates
customer selection criteria
 Identifies options, pricing, delivery schedules
 Can integrate with contact management software like
ACT!
6-8
Written Proposals


Many clients ask for written proposals and some
provide detailed guidelines
Most written proposals include:
 Budget
and overview
 Objective
 Strategy
 Schedule
 Rationale
6-9
As a Salesperson,
You Need to Know:
 Your products
 Your company and its policies
 Your competition and industry
6-10
Product Information Categories
Product development and quality
improvement processes
 Performance data and specifications
 Maintenance and service contracts
 Price and delivery

6-11
Product Development and Quality
Improvement
Development
 Be familiar with
product history
 Know stages of
product testing
 Link key features and
customer needs
Quality
 Quality control
involves measuring
against standards
 Extensive sales-force
training is key
element of quality
control
6-12
Performance Data and Specifications



Most clients interested in product performance and
specifications
Salespeople must be prepared to answer
performance-related questions
Data often critical when
customer compares
various products
6-13
Sea Ray
Salespeople
Know the Product
6-14
Maintenance and Service Contracts
Provide service-related information in
proposal and/or at the time of sale
 Understand customer’s service and
maintenance requirements
 Customized service agreements add value

6-15
Price and Delivery
Clients expect salespeople to be well
versed in price and delivery policies
 Giving salespeople price and delivery
decision power yields strong position
 Price objections often common barrier to
closing the sale

6-16
Quantifying the Solution


Process of determining whether proposal adds value
Conduct a cost-benefit analysis using costs and
anticipated savings
 See

Table 6.1 for an example (next slide)
Calculate a return on investment
 Key
decision makers respond favorably to ROI
6-17
Cost-Benefit
Analysis
TABLE
6.1
6-18
Know Your Company



Salespeople sell their company as much or more than
they sell a product
Organizational culture is a collection of beliefs,
behaviors, and work patterns common to a firm’s
employees—influences customer orientation of
salespeople
Many prospects use a firm’s past performance as
index for current products/services
6-19
GEAR for Sports
See the
Website
6-20
Edward Jones’ Past Performance
See the
Website
6-21
Know Your Competition



Acquiring knowledge of the competition is an
important step
Knowing strengths and weaknesses of competing
products allows you to emphasize your benefits
Prospects do raise questions about competition—be
prepared to answer
6-22
Ethics: For Discussion


How would you respond if a customer asks you
about a competitor’s service, which you know from
all accounts is horrible?
What would you tell a customer who has just said, “I
think that salesperson from your competition is
unethical. What do you think?”
6-23
Handling Competition




Avoid referring to the competition during sales
presentations
Never discuss the competition unless you have
your facts straight
Avoid criticizing the competition
Be prepared to neutralize competitor proposals
by adding value to yours
6-24
Be an Industry Expert



Salespeople need to become an expert in industry
they represent
Need to move beyond product specialist to business
analyst
Knowledge of industry must be both current and
detailed
6-25
Industry Expertise: It’s Never Too Early




Process often starts in college experience
Read trade journals
Regularly attend industry
seminars and conventions
Become active in industry
associations; many have
special student membership
rates
6-26
Sources of Product Information






Product literature, catalogs, Websites
Plant tours
Internal sales and sales support team
Customers
The product itself
Trade publications
6-27
Features and Benefits
A feature is data, facts, or characteristics of
your product or service
 A benefit is whatever provides the customer
with a personal advantage
or gain

 General
benefits
 Specific benefits
6-28
Slipit Features and Benefits
Visit the Website to see how Slipit translates features
into benefits
See the
Website
6-29
Bridge Statements


Transitional phrases linking a feature statement to a
benefit statement
Sample bridge
 This
product is nationally advertised, which means you
will benefit from more pre-sold customers

Best method for presenting benefits to customers
6-30
Bridge Statement Application
For each of the following cell phone features, write
down a benefit for the customer, then use a bridge
statement to link them.
Features:
 Small and lightweight
 Has voice-command capability
 Has wireless Internet capability
 Can store MP3 files/comes with earbuds
 GPS technology can provide onscreen directions
6-31
Benefits Not Features
“I don’t think that we understood our real goal when
we first started Federal Express. We thought that
we were selling the transportation of goods; in fact,
we were selling peace of mind.”
— Frederick Smith, founder of Federal Express
6-32
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343 MR-JW 6 Prod Sol..