Since the emergence of organised selling, generations of salespeople have been steeped in the traditions of FAB (features, advantages and benefits) and the old favourite, the USP (unique selling proposition). These simple concepts served generations of salespeople well. However, markets have changed, rendering these familiar, rather product-centric tools all but obsolete.
In markets characterised by plentiful supplies, a wide range of options, shrewd, well-informed buyers and ferocious competition, the usefulness of these tools is greatly diminished. A new generation of skilled salespeople understand that they must make the transition from walking catalogue to that of business consultant, and value creator.
Raised the bar
In a recent project, HR Chally interviewed over 80 000 senior business executives, and it became abundantly clear that they have raised the bar in terms of their expectations of salespeople. They expect salespeople to have in-depth knowledge of the buyer's business, as well as the ability to craft offerings around their product/services that deliver demonstrable financial value to the buyer's business.
Marriott Hotel's proposition to one of its key international clients, Siemens, is not simply about renting out hotel rooms. It is all about reducing staff turnover among middle and senior management with grueling travel schedules by creating technologies and systems that facilitate the creation of a customised, user friendly, hassle-free travel experience.
Boise Cascade Office Products are not simply purveyors of office consumables. It brings its expertise in procurement and supply chain management to bear in creating a web-enabled buying process that centralises control, makes buying easy, generates usage reports, reduces shrinkage, and uses bulk buying to lower prices and save the client a great deal of money.
Must become adept
Successful modern sales forces must become adept at formulating and communicating creative value propositions for their customers, and salespeople must be equipped with the knowledge, the tools and the templates to enable them to do this.
A sales veteran with over 30 years of experience, Peter Gilbert is MD of HR Chally SA (www.challysa.co.za), an international sales consulting company specialising in talent management and recruitment. He is passionate about sales as a profession and the identification of real sales talent who can really sell! Email him at
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