When you start in a new sales role and begin to approach prospects you will quickly learn they don’t seem that interested and are indifferent. Nobody cares and you don’t seem to matter even though your new employer has break-through technology and products and is disrupting whole industries.
Most of us have been brought up in either a features-based, benefits-based or value proposition school of selling e.g. the customer will get X, if they do Y i.e. buy from us. It’s a very logical, causal sequence you follow to persuade people to give you business. But out in the real world of prospecting we need better tools to handle the very tough conditions such as these.
- I hear you, so what?
- So you’re better, but how will I be better?
- What is it I cannot achieve without you?
Handling these reactions (especially on a telephone) defeats even the “best” salespeople. It means doing things that traditional sales training would tell you not to do, such as:
1 You need clarity in your communications, clarity you only get through developing language that is closer to soundbite than prose. Prospects remember what they heard, not what you said.
2 You need to make a big claim up front. Not a big lie, but a big claim. Otherwise, heads won’t turn and you will not get the attention you need. Think about it, people don’t change unless you can promise a better future or result.
3 Early in the sales process – the first conversations – customers cannot process benefits or product features or detailed information. They are more likely to pay attention to how they can avoid failure and not repeat past mistakes.
The biggest challenge in a sales role is getting the prospect’s attention. After that you only have to deal with good problems, which we call sales or selling. You can learn how to sell, but you cannot sell until you can get the attention of strangers, without turning to half truths and untruths.