Warranties. Certifications. Guarantees.
Most salespeople use them in some form, and most prospects couldn’t care less.
Why is that, when many companies are putting a lot of data and research behind their products, their certifications, and their warranties?
It come back to the old saying: They won’t care about you until they know how much you care about them.
Certifications and warranties are a great way to reassure prospects in what you’re selling and differentiate yourself, but not all ways of presenting them have the same impact.
To help shed some light on the topic, we sat down with Robb Clawson, Director of Marketing, Education, Membership, and Events at AMCA International. In our conversation, Robb shared insights into how the best are positioning and selling their certifications, and how to systemize the process so every salesperson on your team can benefit.
Since we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it, and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T-Trigger: To trigger a system for positioning and selling a differentiator like a certification, Rob said it doesn’t begin with your certification. Rather, it begins with your prospect.
Take the time to understand the goals and challenges your prospect has in their own business, and the concerns they may have with the product or service you’re selling. Certifying something in an area your prospects don’t care about is a waste of time and dollars. In contrast, if one of your prospects’ chief concerns is sustainability or domestically produced and assembled products, make sure you include those in your list of certification bullets.
Next, you’ll want to approach the trigger for your certification sales process from the perspective of the product or service itself. What are its differentiators? What benefit does it produce for your customers? In what amounts? If you can map out the ways that what you’re selling is different from your competitor’s items and quantify the impact it can have on the benefits your prospects care about, you now have a certification that will get their attention.
Next, quantify the impact of the things your certification guarantees. You’ll want to do this in time, dollars, customer retention, and any other areas that your customers are concerned with. These examples will be critical when it comes time to present your certification or guarantee to your prospects as a key differentiator.
R-Repeatable: To make this system repeatable, Robb recommends taking the work you’ve done in the trigger part of this system and putting it to work for your prospects.
First, ensure that the verbiage in your certification aligns with your prospects’ concerns. If your certifications or guarantees don’t protect your prospects’ interests, you’ll want to reword them to ensure they immediately connect with what your prospects care about.
Second, look at your email templates, talking points, discovery questions and marketing. Do each of those address some aspect of the challenges that you discovered in your research? If not, look at where those solutions may fit in. You’ll want to ‘tee up’ your prospects by mentioning those challenges so that you can ideally position your certification or guarantee as a solution.
Finally, ensure that after each prospect conversation you’re following up with information on how to make their businesses and lives better. Because you know the challenges they’re facing, you can suggest solutions that all fall in line with what your certification addresses.
I-Improvable: To improve the way you sell your certification, ensure your certifications are up to date. Robb mentioned that it’s critical we stay on top of technology changes and industry changes in the markets we sell to and ensure that our certification is aligned with them.
Having a certification or warranty that doesn’t address the challenges your customers face today means they won’t see the value in it, which means it won’t be a differentiator.
M-Measurable: To measure the effectiveness of a sales process that leverages a certification or guarantee, we need to ensure the time in researching and developing the certifications delivers ROI to us, and to our customers.
Robb recommends measuring whether your certification’s specifications are still seen as valuable by your prospects. That can be done through conversations with prospects and customers, and through sales where the certification was used as a differentiator.
We should also measure how aligned our certification or warranty is with what the future looks like for our industry. For instance, if we notice three upcoming changes in technology, regulation, or customer experience, are we updating our certification to include the three items?
Certifications and warranties can be massive differentiators if they’re designed with the customer in mind.