Operations

The #1 Sales Mistake Operators Make & How To Fix It

Bill Faeth
Posted on January 4, 2018
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

During the last five years, I have had the privilege of working with more than 400 limousine companies from small operations to the largest in the industry. Although the fleet sizes, budgets, and locations vary, every company makes one fundamental mistake:

You’re not selling the outcome.

Almost every company in our industry only sells features. Don’t get me wrong, features are important, but they aren’t as important as the outcome your clients will get from using your service.

Just flip through the pages in this issue and you will see limousine companies, insurance companies, dealers, manufacturers, and more all marketing and selling to you. What do you see? Features.

Let’s say you are in the market for a new sedan or Transit/Sprinter. Find one of the ads and I am certain you will see a feature list of the vehicle’s amenities, pricing, and warranty information. What you won’t see is what will happen after you make the purchase, a case study of revenue growth, or anecdote about an increased number of bookings (a.k.a. the OUTCOME).

Now take a look at the affiliate ads in the back of this issue and you will see the same features listed: 24-hour service, new vehicles, professionally trained chauffeurs, etc. They are mostly all the same.

When you switch to a new affiliate, you are buying an outcome. When you make the switch, your new affiliate wins your business. You are buying faster ride receipts so you can bill your client faster, or you are being paid faster for inbound work. The outcome? Better cash flow for both. Maybe your newfound affiliate will provide a service your previous one lacked. The outcome here is better client retention and possibly more outbound work from your client.

Every time we make a purchase, we do so based on the outcome the product or service will provide. Your clients are making similar decisions.

This is why you need to start selling outcomes first and features second.

How to Begin Selling Outcomes
Selling outcomes starts by knowing the problems your clients have so you can provide solutions to their problems. The more problems you can identify, the more opportunities create a positive outcome through your solutions. This is the most critical step and why we start every Boot Camp with a 90-minute exercise teaching operators how to do this.

Let’s use a travel manager as an example.

A travel manager oversees multiple if not hundreds of passengers on a daily or weekly basis, so fast and easy communication is typically a pain point. Here’s an example of a solution to this glaring pain point…

• Offer multiple channels of communication to your travel manager audiences (phone, email, text, GDS, online, app, live chat, Facebook Messenger). By offering multiple communication channels, you allow the travel manager to choose their preferred method which shows that you are versatile, progressive, and potentially easy to work with.

The feature is the multiple channels of communication. The benefits or outcomes include:

1. A direct line to your travel manager
2. A reservation editor in your pocket
3. Easy communication for busy professionals

Now, you are selling an outcome to an actual person or a buyer persona, as we like to call travel manager Tammy, instead of trying to sell services based on features and benefits. Do this and you will see your conversions increase dramatically.

QUICK TIPS: List these communications channels on your website, in your proposals, RFPs, and in ads, or email targeting travel managers. Create a dedicated page on your website specifically for travel managers. List the top three to five pain points travel managers have and answer the pain points with your solutions. Again, include these in all forms of marketing and advertising for travel managers.

Selling outcomes is really about knowing why your buyer is buying. Think about all the problems a buyer has from brides and wedding planners (they are different) to executive admins and business travelers (also different). Write them down on a piece of paper, then list out the solution you provide for each problem. Integrate the solutions into your marketing, sales strategy, and unique value proposition, and watch your closing rates start to increase.

Bill Faeth is the founder of Limo University (www.LimoGrowth.com), Inbound Marketing Agents (www.inboundmarketingagents.com), and 23 additional startups, including Silver Oak Transportation of Nashville, Tenn. As a successful former operator and active advocate for the industry, Bill continues to invest into educating and training operators on how to grow, manage and sustain a more profitable business. You can reach Bill at [email protected]

Related Topics: advertising, Bill Faeth, How To, marketing/promotions, Profit Motives, Sales & Marketing, selling techniques, selling your business

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