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Quiz: Which Sales Message is Compelling?

No time is more precious than the time you spend talking to your customers. The last thing you want to is waste precious face-time communicating a message that isn't interesting. Here's a quick quiz to help you identify which sales messages are compelling, and which are simply boring the customer to tears...

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QUIZ: Which of the three (purposely) generic messages are most likely to interest the customer?
  • #1: "Our product is the most advanced in the world today. It represents thousands of hours of research and testing. It is covered by a comprehensive guarantee and is responsible for helping hundreds of companies similar to yours."
  • #2: "Our product increases your productivity. It will allows your firm to operate more profitably by maximizing your performance while lowering your cost of ownership, while simultaneous eliminating busy work."
  • #3: "Our product performs the functions that customer requt most often. It helps you have a better experience, and solves the problems that are keeping your and your firm from fulfilling your most important goals."

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QUIZ: Which of the three (purposely) generic messages are most likely to interest the customer?
  • #1: "Our product is the most advanced in the world today. It represents thousands of hours of research and testing. It is covered by a comprehensive guarantee and is responsible for helping hundreds of companies similar to yours."
  • #2: "Our product increases your productivity. It will allows your firm to operate more profitably by maximizing your performance while lowering your cost of ownership, while simultaneous eliminating busy work."
  • #3: "Our product performs the functions that customer request most often. It helps you have a better experience, and solves the problems that are keeping your and your firm from fulfilling your most important goals."

The correct answer is #2. Here's why. According to Dean Schantz, a senior consultant with Corporate Visions, the three generic messages correspond to the three ways that sales reps tell about offerings.
  • #1 is an "IS" message that explains what it IS that you're selling.
  • #2 is a "MEANS" message describing what it means to the customer.
  • #3 is a "DOES" message telling what customer can do with offering.
Customers are almost always more interested in what an offering means to them, than what it is or what it does. To illustrate this, here are the same messages, along with the kind of concrete details that would normally appear in a sales message:
  • #1: The "IS" message. "The CPU100 is the most powerful computer chip in the world today. Our scientists worked thousands of hours to research and test this technological marvel. It has been wildly successful and now has a 75 percent market share."
  • #2: The "MEANS" message. "The CPU100 means that you're can get your work done more quickly. You don't have to wait for web pages to display or for your documents to print. You can get your computer work done quickly, in order to get back to things you truly enjoy."
  • #3: The "DOES" message. "The CPU100 crunches through numbers faster than anything else on the market. With it you can download large documents, display giant pages of rich media, and still have processing power left to edit a high resolution video."
As you can see, for most customers, the "MEANS" message is going to be far more compelling because it edges into the reasons that the customer might actual buy the offering.

However, it must be said (as several commenters have pointed out below) that product-focused messages are, in general, not very compelling. However, if you're going to talk product, you'd best talk about it in terms of what that product's usage means to the customer.