Mine’s bigger than yours

Mine’s bigger than yours

Posted on January 30, 2012 by TheStorageChap in Selling

“Mine’s bigger than yours” has several connotations, in this particular case I am referring to the children’s story book about a big mean monster that bullies smaller monsters, ending with the big monster being eaten by the small monsters bigger mum. Where am I going with this? The IT sales industry and those working in it, in the main, have a “Mine’s bigger than yours” attitude to the products that they sell or are responsible for. Mine can support this number of LUNs, mine can support this number of hosts, mine can support this many protocols; effectively selling IT products becomes a playground game of Top Trumps!

The reality of course is that a growing number of customers are not interested in this game of Trumps, they do not want to hear whose is bigger. What these customers are looking for is guidance, a strategy to work towards, an understanding of the journey that will get them there and why working with you will make it easier. There are still customers who want to know you can win at Trumps and in some cases this may be an appropriate discussion, but a lot of the time if you think back to the accounts where you lost an opportunity, you will often find that you were engaged in a game of Top Trumps.

As sales and pre-sales people, representing our respective companies and divisions, we need to think less about product focus and more about the customers journey. What is the customers business, how does IT support the business in meeting it’s goals, how can we help IT deliver more value back to the business for the same or less cost? These are the types of questions that we should be asking our customers. If the customer believes in you as an individual, as a trusted advisor, then product sales will come naturally. People buy from individuals, not companies; it does not matter if you are buying a new kitchen, a car or an enterprise storage array. Working for a recognised and respected company definitely adds security, but you ultimately make the difference between winning and losing.

The most interesting thing about this from a sales perspective is that if you can move the conversation away from “Mine’s bigger than yours”, then in many cases you don’t need to erode your margins to win the deal. Customers will pay a fair rate for your products and services because they value you and the additional value you bring to their organisation.

This is not rocket science and not new thinking, but sometimes it takes something like a children’s story book to remind me of the importance of adding real value for a customer.