For successful selling, compare and contrast your product

She had been attracted to both phones but wants help in deciding why she should take one over the other, and the seller’s inability to demonstrate similarities and differences between the two is not helping.

Flashback! Remember exam questions in school which would start with “compare and contrast…”? Well, we are back at the two: compare is to discuss the similarities between two or more things. Contrast is to discuss the differences between them.  Comparing and contrasting are not descriptive words we left in school. They are useful tools of communication in selling.

Look at the contrast of these two

The email from the realtor read, “ZP 75 has a view of both golf course holes 16 and 17. ZP 36 on the other hand is also an eighth but has an area of 670sqm which is quite big. A standard eighth has 500sqm. I have attached the site plan and available plots.” And just like that I could picture what the seller was saying. I didn’t know what an eighth looked like and what the seller made me feel with the comparing  and contrasting was that I was getting value for money with ZP 36. And such is the magic comparing and contrasting, as a way to close the sale, creates

Contrast the realtors email to this one from the pension administrator: “LMYE Kenya Limited (“the Company”) currently operates a pension scheme operating on a defined benefits basis, the Lend Pension Fund (‘the DB Fund’) of which you are a deferred member. A fundamental review… has been undertaken by the Company as a result of which the Company is transferring to a defined contribution (“DC Fund) scheme.”  Besides trustees of a pension fund and human resource personnel, most probably the customer (the staff member involved) will draw a blank from that communication.

Help buyer see picture faster

Jargon aside, comparing and contrasting accelerate the sales process because the buyer sees the picture in her mind’s eye. “It’s true the A0X smartphone is cheaper than this B1Y and truth is both have more or less the same functions and performance. The difference lies in the operating system-the engine-and the user’s preference. You are buying the phone for your mum and the B1Y uses an ‘engine’ that is more common in this market. Therefore, when your mum calls you because she’s stuck on some function in her phone you will find it easier to give her instructions on what to do because your phone and hers will have the same engine.”

Accelerate buyer decision making

And just like that, the buyer finds value in buying the more expensive B1Y.  Contrast this with, “The A0X uses OPhone operating system and the B1Y uses Android. The A0X goes for Shs. 7,499 and the B1Y is 9,499. The A0X operating system is new in this market.” Use of jargon aside, so far the seller has only contrasted. He has not compared and therefore the buyer is silently being torn apart in her decision making process. She had been attracted to both phones but wants help in deciding why she should take one over the other, and the seller’s inability to compare is not helping. The buyer wants to know the areas of similarities in the phones and the points of departure therefrom that demonstrate value for her (helping her mum). Comparing and contrasting achieves this in seamless fashion.

Service industry

It is not just sellers of products that can benefit from comparing and contrasting. Services too, can. “Because of capping of interest rates both the facilities (loans) attract (have) the same interest rate.  If you choose to buy your car via asset financing we will limit where you can buy the car, and will keep the log book. If you take a personal loan you get to keep the log book and choose where to buy your vehicle. But the loan will be for four and not five years as with asset financing. Because of your business, I know you’ll need the log book elsewhere, and so I’d propose you take the personal loan route.”  Compare and contrast your service or product in our next pitch and let me know how it goes.


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