For Effective Sales Communication Use Related Comparisons

With every sale before we can get a person to officially buy something we must first gain their own personal buy in to us and what we’re conveying. To gain buy in we must instil a level of understanding from the decision maker we are conversing with.


If they don’t understand your offering or what you’re saying then chances are that you won’t make the sale.


This is often the pitfall of technical sales people. The way that they communicate with prospects is of a technical nature, and so if the recipient lacks the technical ability then their understanding of the concepts will be minimal, leading to lost sales.


We at Sales Icon Coaching teach how one of the most powerful ways of gaining a level of understanding in any communication is through something we call related comparisons.


Now first of all to explain this concept I want you to think back to when you were a young child and how you learnt new concepts or maybe if you’re a parent how you pass knowledge to your children now. A common and proven learning technique is using related comparisons to explain more complex items in a simpler way.


So what are related comparisons? Well basically it’s a comparison that the person can relate to. So we need to read the person we’re in front of and simplify a concept into components they already understand and can relate to, which is comparable to the concept we’re trying to explain.


close up photography of program codes

A great example is the question about gravity, if a child asks “Mummy what’s gravity?” Then the best answer won’t be the scientific literal definition such as “gravity is a force of average strength 9.8 metres per second. The force is an attraction that exists between any two masses, bodies or particles. Gravity is not just the attraction between objects and the Earth. It is an attraction that exists between all objects, everywhere in the universe”


If you gave an answer like this, the child will never understand what Gravity is. Instead you’d explain this with something they can relate to, maybe something like this “gravity is a force which pulls things to the ground, think about when you throw your ball in the air, what happens? …yes the ball comes back down to the ground, that’s gravity.”


So that’s the basic version of related comparisons. Now I’m going to outline a more in-depth sales example in the hope it’ll help you to develop some related comparisons for your role.


This example at first is going to sound super technical, but then I’m going to use a related comparison to make it really easy to understand.


So in this example I’m going to explain how a sales icon used this approach perfectly. They were pitching a technical solution in IT for a large storage device. This large storage device had a technical feature built into its software called ‘Thin Provisioning.’


Now what many sales people (especially those of a technical sales disposition) would do to explain this is use it’s matter of fact technical format, so something like this:


‘Thin provisioning is a method of optimising the efficiency with which the available space is utilised in storage. The software allocates disk storage space in a flexible manner among multiple users, based on the minimum space required by each user at any given time.’


If you’re anything like me you’re puzzled, wondering what any of that information means?!


What this sales icon did was to break this down into a related comparison. He was presenting to a non-technical decision maker whom wanted to grasp a further understanding of what they potentially might buy.


The sales icon explained thin provisioning like follows:


“think of thin provisioning in terms of your office staff in relation to how many toilets you have. In your office you don’t proportion one toilet to each member of staff you have, that’d be ludicrous. Instead you look at how many staff you employ and what an appropriate number of toilets are relative to this. So it may be a relation of say 20 staff to one toilet for instance. This is thin provision in its essence. Storage thin provision works in the same way, you have a total resource pool of storage which is assigned to workloads in a proportioned manner. That way you can keep your storage down to its optimum minimum requirement as you aren’t assigning storage to workloads that don’t require it. In the long run this saves you money as you don’t need to buy extra storage, you just need a software to distribute it efficiency, such as thin provisioning.”


So what has the sales icon done here?


Well he’s taken a complex topic and turned it into something that the decision maker can relate to in an easy comparison.


So what’s the take away for you reading this? Well that would be to assess your sales role, are there any concepts which are difficult to understand from a prospects perspective? If there are then start brainstorming how you could use a related comparison to make it easier to understand.


Remember that if you can aid the prospect in their understanding then your communication improves drastically. Then you’re much more likely to make the sale. Not many people buy things that they don’t understand.


For more sales insights such as this do follow the blog and look out for my soon to be released book Sales Icon: Selling in the Shadows.

Leave a Reply