Selling and the power of familiarity


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Most buyers find comfort in familiarity. And, many companies count on it – enticing customers to purchase by creating a familiar buying environment.

That’s why, for example, fast food establishments – whether selling hamburgers, chicken, or tacos all have the same basic structure – stand on line, place your order, and then bring the food to your table. According to Dr. Art Markman at the University of Texas, this formula helps customers navigate through their purchase because they quickly recognize what they’re supposed to do.

As might be expected, the fast food example doesn’t translate well to the B2B market. Unique products and complex solutions don’t lend themselves to best practices established for the restaurant business. Rather, Dr. Markham suggests relying on the power of analogies to create a sense of familiarity.

However, most customers rarely conjure up good analogies on their own. As we’ve often written, it’s up to the sales person to “connect the dots” – don’t rely on customers. But, even experienced sales people can’t consistently create just the right analogy in real time. This means when planning sales calls, sales people should think of analogies that can “bring to life” the value associated with their product.

We believe analogies can be a highly effective sales tool for helping customers develop an understanding of the value of your solution – the more complex the solution, the greater the potential impact of the analog.

In prior blogs we introduced the power of storytelling in sales. While storytelling can stand on its own, incorporating analogies to make a point or illustrate an idea can enhance the power of the story. Skillfully using analogies, storytelling, or both can be very effective for helping customer become more familiar with what you’re selling – developing customer comfort by the power of familiarity is fundamentally a good idea.

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©2011 Sales Horizons, LLC

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Richard Ruff
For more than 30 years Richard Ruff has worked with the Fortune 1000 to craft sales training programs that make a difference. Working with market leaders Dick has learned that today's great sales force significantly differs from yesterday. So, Sales Momentum offers firms effective sales training programs affordably priced. Dick is the co-author of Parlez-Vous Business, to help sales people have smart business conversations with customers, and the Sales Training Connection.


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