FlipMyFunnel Post

B2B Sales: Why Transparency Sells Better Than Perfection

When was the last time you were in Ikea?

Even if you’ve never been to the store, you probably know the Swedish-founded company produces ready-to-assemble, modestly-priced furniture. Since at least 2008, Ikea has been the world’s largest retailer of furniture. 

They obviously excel in many aspects of their industry.

They’re also flawed in a lot of areas.

Upon walking into the store, the layout herds shoppers through the showroom, over to grab a cart, and directly into the self-service warehouse to haul their items out to the parking lot. Sometimes, customers are instructed to pick up their purchases at an external warehouse.

All the while, not one salesperson in sight.

Once you get your “simplistic” entertainment center home, prepare to assemble a hundred little pieces with minimal instruction.

Why has Ikea’s model worked for years on end?

We mulled this over with The Transparency Sale author, keynote speaker, and Sales Melon LLC founder, Todd Caponi. Just off of his Sales Assembly keynote delivery, Todd proposes three reasons you should take a note from Ikea and not try to be everything to everyone.

Here’s what we’re unpacking today:

  • Committing to a market need and sacrificing unnecessary features.
  • Creating a clear position in the minds of customers.
  • Embracing the imperfections of your offerings.

This post is based on a podcast with Todd Caponi. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below.

1. You’re filling a market need

The same way you decided on the industry you’re in, you should find the specific need there’s an opportunity to fulfill.

Todd points out that once you find the niche you’re going to serve, there are other aspects you will have to sacrifice. In other words, if you decide to sell porterhouse steaks with premier service, you’ll have to ditch the cheap burgers and rollerskates.

While sacrificing some features is necessary for your business to succeed, make sure to implement smaller perks to help customers remember you. Maybe you offer a percentage off when contracts are signed within a certain time period. You could try unique branding in addition to an unprecedented offer.

2. You have clear positioning in the minds of customers

When you think about Ikea, you normally know what you’re in for. That’s why their model works. Returning customers understand there won’t be much in terms of service. The moderately priced Scandanavian furniture is what Ikea customers have come to expect from the furniture warehouse.

What do customers expect from your company?

Trying to cover too many needs in your industry will make your business seem ambiguous; a Jack of all trades but a master of none. Customers will be more comfortable inquiring about your services if they have an idea of what to expect.

Todd stresses that businesses embrace their shortcomings and not try to cover them up. That leads us into the third reason to avoid being everything to everyone.

3. Customers don’t want a perfect 5

If you think an average rating of five stars makes more sales, think again.

Through his research in the neuroscience of sales, Todd is able to inform us that an average rating between 4.2 and 4.5 actually converts better.

In the age of online buying and website selling, consumers aren’t fond of being sold to. We’re wired to search for the faults in the product or service we’re interested in. Why not qualify leads faster by informing them of what you don’t do? This helps customers compare brands faster, leading to quicker sales for you.

More transparency leads to more sales

Being honest and upfront with potential customers is essential to the success of your business. This is possible through

  • committing to your niche,
  • creating a clear position in the market,
  • and embracing your shortcomings.

How can you be the Ikea of your industry? Or the Ashley Home Store? 

Remember: None of us can be everything to everyone. Find out what you can excel at and always hold transparency as a priority.