Have you ever asked yourself the question: ‘Why some salespeople make the sales process look so easy and why some struggle?’ If you answered yes, then this article is for you.

The old principles of selling simply do not apply to intangible products. The primary reason for that is because traditional sales practices rely on the availability of the product to the customer. Something they can touch, smell, hear, see, taste; all of this sensory interaction facilitates an interactive buying experience. What happens if you remove the ability to see the product in action, or to experience the benefits of it in person?

We will examine some very simple steps to success. It begins with a list of the top 4 benefits of each product or service you sell. These benefits must be easy to explain and matter to the everyday customer you will meet.

For example; if you have a product that prevents damage due to tree sap or bird droppings; all you need is a customer who parks their car under or near a treed area. Once you have your list, you can group your customers into demographic segments. For example, you may have the following consumer groups:

  • Single without kids
  • Married without kids
  • Married with kids
  • Working/Retired?
  • Etc.

The next step is to create a fun challenge for you and your team members, something like this:

Customer type

Key benefit

Married with kids?

Pays off loan balance


Provides reliable low cost ownership

Single without kids?

Provides cash flow assistance

Married without kids?

Enhances future value of vehicle


Once you match up the customer type with the correct benefit, you are ready for the next step: chose the best time and method to determine which segment the consumer you have in front of you belongs to.

Imagine if you knew in advance that your customer was going to say yes to your product presentation; would that have an impact on the energy and conviction you put into your offering? We believe that you can create consistent success just by clearly identifying what you are searching for.

The final and most significant piece of this puzzle involves the ‘need’ step. This is where you establish the reason why the customer will need what your product does. It is crucial to get this technique right, because when selling intangible products, the physical senses are not really in play, which frees up the customers mind to wander and to begin to think of why they should not purchase your products. You must use techniques that are engaging and interactive, thereby keeping your customer involved in the overall sales process.

The best ways to establish a need for your product solution is to use 3rd party resources that don’t rely on any single opinion. The time to create a need is always best rewarded when it happens before the benefit stage of your presentation. We will be exploring some specific need creation techniques in our next article.

To summarize, identify key benefits for specific consumer groups, plan your discovery strategy and then execute your plan with confidence and clarity. Work to perfect your technique and remember to challenge yourself to be the best you can be!

Until the next time…Happy Selling!


Gordon Swail

Senior Director of Training & Brand Performance

Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.-SAL


  Please visit us on our website www.iasal.ca