Okay, several of you have asked me…
“What Do I Talk About with a Prospect, If I’m Not Talking About My Product or Service?”
I will get to a logical progression for talking about business results in a moment. Before sharing this information, I want to remind you to forget about all your old school or traditional sales training. Remember, no matter how bad you want to start your sales “pitch” there is no selling allowed with the top level prospect. If you must pitch something, pitch your old sales techniques and tactics in the trash before entering the room.
This simple progression is designed to show your prospect you are experienced and have done this before – providing the credibility and confidence they need to even think about moving forward in their buying process. Yes, they do want to buy, they do not want to be sold.
Think business results as you move through this four step progression…
- Existing Customer’s prior experiences
What were others doing prior to you getting involved. Discuss the methods and practices being used by the existing customer prior to your intervention.
- Problems they encountered
Share the problems, issues, lost opportunities and critical mistakes made by the existing customers (By the way, it is best to use a generic statement – such as “a large distribution company” or “a Fortune 500 widget manufacturing company” rather than the exact name of the existing customer.) Be explicit in your examples and point out variables or causes to the problems.
- Business implications to their problems
Begin to share the actual cost or range of costs associated with the problems discussed above. Here your goal is to reflect knowledge of financial expertise and business acumen regarding the REAL COSTS of problems – including the cost of no changes. Share a story of an existing customer who delayed a decision and the costs multiplier effect.
- Business Result provided by your solutions
Here is where you get their undivided attention. Share how much return on investment did the existing customer receive after implementing your solutions. Discuss the payback period and the positive multiplier effect of continued returns over time. Share the facts of the direct business results with a little indirect benefit for the individual decision maker at the existing customer. Sometimes, the top level prospect needs to hear how they could win by working with you and your company.
There is a simple four step progression for demonstrating business results to a top level decision maker. Now you will transition into a marketing model to learn about how the potential customer is currently doing things, what potential issues they will acknowledge, what related issues could be in play, and what the cost of no change could be.
One additional key point for the b2b sales person who wants to win more business. You must use a story telling technique to describe the four points listed above. When using a story format, you can include a little drama to drive their attention levels and get them involved. By using the story telling format, the potential customer can easier see themselves in the same situations as the story line suggests. Thus, they actually become more engaged and curious about how you solved the issues and problems.
To be effective at story telling, you must practice your story. Use a video camera to learn about your effectiveness regarding pauses, emphasis, easy to visualize phrases and confidence. The video camera is an excellent tool for improving all your sales and presenting skills. The feedback is accurate and immediate. Having worked with numerous sales people and executives using video, I can tell you it is the best method to improve – period.