📄 What to do when a buyer isn't engaging with your conversation

One of the reasons I'm so happy that SFC includes a Personal membership option, where you get to ask me questions in your own personal conversation thread, is: the questions my clients ask me become the seed of new articles.

For instance, the other day someone asked how he can re-engage his buyers during a demo meeting, because he tends to lean too heavily on the features of his offer.

A question worthy of an article, because it's all too easy to fall into the features-trap. And remember: features tell, but benefits sell.

So how does this happen, why do we end up listing all the features, forcing our buyer to tune out?

Over-reliance on features is often because of two things: first there's uncertainty about how bought-in your prospect is, or how good of a problem/solution fit there is. That then easily triggers the seller into the second problem: trying to look interesting. 

When that happens, the goal of the call (closing the gap and letting your buyer get closer) gets replaced by an exercise in guessing: "What should I lean into? What matters most to them? What should I say about this or that? Oh and shouldn't I also mention that other thing? And feature XYZ? I suppose I should list those secondary benefits as well, shouldn't I?"

On a good day, that turns the conversation into a listing of things supposed to be interesting, which is guaranteed to have your buyer lose all interest... And on a bad day, it has you vomiting words at them, with the added benefit of them not enjoying the conversation and preferably never dealing with you again. And you can't blame them, if they don't even get a chance to think about all that you're saying to them.

So here's what to do instead:

Start the conversation by figuring out what is the most pressing, costly problem for the buyer.

Then, lean heavily into that problem: have your buyer identify with ice-cold precision how much that problem costs them to keep (i.e. identify the problem-cost), and ask them if they'd rather pay for keeping the problem, of for getting rid of it. (aka give them the pay-up-or-put-up message).

Why does this work so much better than working with features, or even with benefits?

Because if your goal is for your buyer to engage with you, you need to talk to them about the thing that matters most to them. And that's not the features of your solution, or even the benefits or outcomes or solutions:

The thing that matters most to a buyer is their problems. Talk about those, and you bet your buyer will engage.

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