Now that I have your attention, let me finish that statement. Quality doesn’t matter…not yet at least.

Back in my retail selling days, I figured out early on that product knowledge was one of the keys to earning trust. So, I learned everything there was to know about my product.

I had to learn the hard way, though, that telling my prospect how great my product was, right out of the gate, wasn’t very effective.

I get it…belief in your product forms the basis for passion; one of the most successful sales “techniques” ever employed.

What I learned really quickly is that quality doesn’t matter…until, or if, you prove the utility of your offering to the customer right in front of you.

You say, “Well, of course they can use my product! Why else would I be invited into their home?”

This “Quality vs. Utility” conversation is one that I’ve had with dealer partners and their sales teams many times, and its importance is magnified by the level of complexity, accessible information and competitive availability of the feature of a particular product offering.

Let’s see if I can illustrate with a hypothetical example…let’s say your window vendor partner offers a particular standard feature that the vast majority of their competition doesn’t, or offers only as an option.

Let’s say that your territory rep has provided you with some great third-party pieces that annihilate your competitors, plus information about the process they use to offer this feature that seems really compelling.

The “Quality First” approach would be to start with your process, and then move right in for the kill with the third-party piece.

Sounds reasonable, right? Here’s why it may not work well…

• Notice that I mentioned that the “vast majority” of competitors don’t offer this feature…how do you think a sales rep that represents a product without this feature is going to deal with this? Something along the lines of “It’s overkill.” Or “It just adds cost with no benefits.” If a customer hears this three or four times before your salesperson visits, do you think information on your manufacturer’s process is going to be useful?

• Since, in our example, most competitors don’t offer this, wouldn’t it be reasonable to think that there is limited information for your potential customer to have found ahead of time? If that’s the case, what good is it going to do to talk about a process that your window vendor partner uses to accomplish something that the customer probably doesn’t yet understand the importance of?

One of the old sales “saws” that you’ve heard over and over comes into play here, and I believe it’s more true today than it ever has been…”People love to buy, but hate to be sold.” The quality-first method is selling first, pure and simple.

We teach a three-part way to combat this tendency: a way to increase your perception as an expert, a way to earn more trust, and, ultimately a way to close more sales.

We’ll take a deep dive into those next month. Until then, remember…quality doesn’t matter, until utility is confirmed.

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