Feature dumping: what is it and and how do you avoid it?

Have you ever walked away from a sales appointment wondering what the heck just happened? Typically, this happens after you’ve done an appointment where you have been a victim of feature dumping, and that almost never ends well. Don’t feel bad if you’ve done it. You’re not alone. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. It happens all the time.

What is Feature Dumping?

Feature dumping is when you go into your sales appointment and you tell your prospect everything there is to know about your product or service within minutes. When you go into this mode, you walk out of the meeting with no understand of why your prospect said no. There are two reasons people feature dump. One, we lack confidence. Two, we lack understanding of the sales process.

When you feature dump everything there is to know about your product, it is a telltale sign that you lack confidence in your product or service. Most sales reps give me push back when I make that assertion. We all want to believe we fully understand the product we are selling. But if you resort to feature dumping, it’s because you aren’t comfortable having a natural, slower-paced conversation about the product. Authentic conversation allows for open dialogue and challenging questions. The rep who is feature dumping believes that if he just tells a prospect everything there is to know about it, he will get his point across. “Look at the bells and whistles on this product. It does this. It does that. It can do this. It can do that.” No need for questions. No need for challenges. No open dialogue. When you start rambling like that, you have lost your prospect. Of course this rambling pitch might not be intentional. But it really doesn’t matter if it’s unintentional because it is exactly what’s going on in reality. The rep is rushing to the finish line with all the wonderful things about the product and service hoping that the prospect says yes. And guess what. Hope is not a strategy. You can’t go around hoping to close deals.

The second problem I think this is the bigger problem. People lack an understanding of sales process. A sales process is the opposite of trying to use hope as a strategy. It’s a roadmap you follow to get a prospect to say yes. It’s pre-call planning, a needs analysis, identifying the pain points, presenting a solution. There are a lot of great sales processes out there. I’m not here to debate which one’s better or which one’s worse. Whatever works for you is the one you should use. It doesn’t matter which one you use; when you lack an understanding of your preferred sales process, that’s typically when you start to feature dump. If you were confident in your understanding of your sales process, you would know that all the features, benefits, and advantages of your product or service will be displayed. They will come up throughout your entire sales process. But because we lack an understanding of that sales process then we just start to word vomit and try to muscle our way to a sale. That isn’t going to work, I promise. Feature dumping and trying to muscle your way through a sales process and get to the end as quickly as possible will lead to lower revenue, a lower closing ratio, smaller commissions, possibly higher turnover because people aren’t making any money using this strategy.

How to avoid it

Master your sales process. If you work for a company, for yourself, are an entrepreneur or are in digital marketing, there is a sales process. Master your sales process to the level that you can predict how every appointment will go. You should make it your goal to get to a point that the questions your prospects ask should be repetitive. Mastering your sales process means you can anticipate the questions and when they will be asked. You should be able to predict their reactions and any hard pivots ahead. Whatever process you use, you have to understand how to execute it.

The second solution is to find confidence. Take a deep breath before your sales presentation. Full disclosure, when I am nervous for a large sales deal, I literally write the words CALM, CLOSE, COLLECT in my notes. Three Cs: calm, close, collect. Calm: Anthony, remain calm. Close: You are going to close effectively. Collect: Collect all the information you need to make sure that you’ve done a great job. It’s a little simple note I write to myself to keep my nerves in check, which can prevent me from feature dumping.

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