Technical Selling Vs. Cliche Selling

January 14th, 2007 (8,890 views) by Pinny Cohen

Those of us involved in selling on a regular basis know that sometimes selling is more of an art form than a science. Selling at its most basic level is convincing someone to buy something from you, regardless of its worth to him and his need of it. As you deal with more market savvy people though, you really need to move up to a higher level of selling. This selling method needs to take into account what the person is there for, and what he needs, and then find the right solution for him. This brings us to the discussion of Technical Selling Vs. Cliche Selling.

Technical Selling

Technical selling involves trying to highlight certain features of a product or service, in the hopes that it will connect with the buyer on that level. Here’s an example of Technical Selling. A computer programmer walks into COMPUSA (no, this isn’t the start of a bad joke) and is approached by a salesperson. The programmer is not looking for assistance from the salesperson in the form of, “You probably want something black, easy to use, and that everyone on your block is probably using”. He is likely looking for something more technical, in the form of, “The RAM on this computer will speed up your applications allowing you to develop your programs with greater ease”. This technique focuses on the intellect of the other person.

Cliche Selling

Cliche Selling, on the other hand, involves selling to someone by using a well-known cliche, such as this product will “Kill two birds with one stone”, or “seize the bull by the horns”, regardless of whether the cliche is actually true in this particular situation. The mere fact that people hear a cliche which they think they understand well and are familiar with, increases the chances they will be willing to buy. This technique focuses on the emotions of the other person.

Cultural Differences

As with anything involving sales or marketing, cultural and geographic differences abound. In the USA, Cliche Selling works very well on most of the general population, which explains why the majority of our advertising tries to make us “feel” a certain way, and satisfy our needs to be happy, popular, “with it”, or “ahead of the times”.

If you go across the world, however, to say, Japan, you will find a very different story.Japan is a very technologically advanced country, not only because of their products, but because of the technical knowledge of ordinary citizens. This results in Cliche Selling falling very far from success, because it doesn’t speak to their needs.

Technical Selling is the best method to break into the Japan market (and many large companies seem to fail to accept that). If you just take a look at some Japanese ads for the exact same products that we have here in the USA, you will notice that while our ads say something to the effect of “Brand New Cellphone, black sleek look”, in Japan that is usually the least important part of the ad. The most important part is filled with technical information about wireless capabilities, camera specs, and range of audio.

In some way, this makes them smarter consumers, who won’t be “tricked” into buying inferior products. If you are in a selling position currently, ask yourself – do you Cliche Sell or Technical Sell? You may be taking the wrong approach.

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