Sell Oranges, Not Apples To Increase Sales

To increase sales, you need a good proposal. How many times have you had a customer ask you to submit a proposal in a certain way so they could “compare apples to apples“?

Of course we take the path of least resistance by complying with the request. The customer does their comparison and then watches the sales people fight over their business by reducing their prices.

How do we increase sales profitably?

So how do we break this pattern? Convince the customer that oranges are better than apples. By convincing the customer that oranges are much better than apples and are worth paying the price for them you will completely shut out your competition. You will sell at a much higher margin. And you will avoid jumping through hoops to get the order.

Early in my career I was selling security systems for a medium size alarm company. I was competing with 2 or 3 companies for almost every job. If you calculate the law of averages I should have closed 25% – 33% of my quotes but I closed 80% over a 3 year period and my price was often 20% higher than the competition.

I didn’t achieve this with my good looks. I designed security systems that were different than my competitors then convinced the customer that my design was better. Customers could not compare apples to apples so they could get a lower price. My competitors were all selling apples and I sold oranges.

How to sell oranges over apples

Achieving this takes creativity and confidence but can completely change the fortunes of many businesses. Here are a few points to help you sell oranges more effectively:

  • Analyze your product thoroughly to determine it’s unique features & benefits
  • Develop a list of questions to uncover problems and challenges that your competitors have not uncovered. Keep digging because your competition probably isn’t
  • Propose creative solutions for your client by focusing on the unique features and benefits of your product.
  • Read books and take sales training workshops to learn sales techniques to be a more effective sales person

Selling oranges over apples often requires a paradigm shift from you customer. It takes an investment of more time and effort but if you do change the paradigm you will lock out your competition and sell for much higher margins.

Tony Malyk

Tony Malyk is a Certified Professional Business Coach and Business Value Accelerator specializing in improving profitability and increasing business value in the manufacturing, distribution, trades and technology sectors.