The other day, I was driving around with my iPod on “Shuffle”, and one of my favorite songs, John Denver’s “Some Days Are Diamonds, Some Days Are Stones”, started to play.
The song made me think about how products that we sell are viewed by our prospects. Let me explain.
Stones are fragments of the earth’s surface that may be strong, pretty, ugly, durable, or fragile. Stones are everywhere and are considered essential – for building, manufacturing, electronics, decorating, and for throwing at people. Everyone knows what a stone is and, at some time or another, has used one.
Diamonds are a compressed fragment of prehistoric life that has been transformed into an incredibly hard rock. Some are placed in the hands of experts and fashioned into multi-faceted jewels. Like stones, everyone knows what a diamond is. However, unlike a stone, a diamond is hard to find and, most often, is looked upon as a luxury item only to be purchased under very special circumstances.
What struck me was the thought that the products that we sell can be seen as stones by some and diamonds by others.
When is a Diamond a Stone?
Diamond bearings are used in instruments for laboratories. Diamond cutting tools cut much faster and accurately than other tools. Metals can be sliced thinner than human hair by the diamond blade. Some saws have diamond-studded edges that can cut hard material like rocks, concrete, and some metals. Diamonds are used to manufacture fine wire, such as the wire used in electric toasters. Dentists rely on diamond drills to care for their patients’ teeth.
So, what’s the point of this?
Here are some conclusions to ponder:
- Some things that appear, at first, to be luxuries may become necessities.
- Stones are everywhere. Diamonds are hard to find.
Now, think about some of your recent sales situations. Did any of your prospects tell you that they would have loved to purchase your product, but they just didn’t have the budget?
If you were listening carefully, what they really said was, “In today’s business climate, we are not buying luxuries (diamonds), we are only buying necessities (stones) -and we see your product as a luxury.”
This is a time for creating stones out of diamonds!
In our world of sales, diamonds are the unique capabilities in our products that differentiate us from our competitors.
Instead of spreading your diamonds on the table and expecting their brilliance to convince the buyer to part with his cash, I would like you to try the following:
- Determine what unique capabilities (diamonds) are contained in your product.
- For each one of the diamonds you have identified, ask yourself, “What does this do, and what problem might it solve for my prospects?”
- Once you have identified the potential problems, think about the consequences that a prospect might suffer if these problems are not addressed.
Now, using SMART Selling , begin your next prospect call by exploring the challenges facing them, and probing for the consequences (Issues) that are related to the problems (Causes) that you have identified in 2 & 3 above. Once the Issues and Causes are on the table, ask your prospect what they think it will take to solve them. Because they probably won’t specifically mention your product capability, the opportunity will come for you to introduce your diamond (Unique Capability) and explain how it relates to their identified problem. By following this process, you will have successfully converted your “luxury” diamond to an “essential” stone.
Give it a try. Let me know how it works for you. For now, I’m going back to my John Denver album.
I wish you the best, and,