We can let marketing do their thing when it comes to getting our message out there and respect that, or we can make some different decisions and create our own marketing speak – in proposals, presentations and conversations.
We keep getting told not to talk product and that buyers want more authenticity, realness and value in the conversations. That our buyers BS meters are so easily triggered and marketing speak, corporate talk and product specs are beginning to do nothing for them.
So what do we do?
Well, one thing we can all do is drop some of the hard core, strategy stuff.
And here’s just a couple of ways we can do that effectively:
1. Tell a story.
Who remembers stories that we were told when we were kids. Most of them (I have no idea why they used to be so damn scary), will never be erased from our minds even after we have grown into rational thinking adults. So what is it about your company or your product that tells a story so compelling that it will stick in your buyers mind. I can’t help but tell you one of mine, right now: If you notice at the top right hand side of the page, you’ll see a widget. Who would have thought, less than two years ago, I would be writing on changing the perception of the sales profession, and my blog be recognised as one of the top 50 Sales Blogs for 2014 (as awarded by Top Sales World – a global resource inspiring Sales Leaders). What is really exciting is the calibre of the other forty nine global sales experts – and the fact that you guys helped me. Thank you!
- Perhaps there is a timeline approach you can use. With things moving so fast these days what was the company doing 10 years ago, 5 years ago, today and what does it plan to do in the future that puts the whole conversation into some form of memorable context. Impactful!
- Perhaps there’s a metaphor approach you can use that taps into the psyche of the buyer. Depending on who I speak with, I use the metaphor of ‘salespeople saving lives’ because in some businesses, according to statistics, they ultimately do. I believe that and tell a story no one else can tell. Impactful!
- Perhaps there’s a case study approach you can use that tells the before, during and after of a customer that has worked with you and the return on investment or return on effort they received. Impactful!
Stories trump Strategy because we all want real.
2. Don’t be your customer.
Your customer is so strapped for time, under the pump with responsibilities far greater than the resources available and you can’t be the same as them. You have to rise to the occasion and go the distance to make their life easier. Be a resource to them and don’t just expect them to be a resource for you.
- Collate some key articles and summarise ideas for them.
- Introduce them to key people who can add value to them in areas you can’t.
- Ask them thought provoking questions that have them creating different options for themselves days later
3. Understand the power of context.
Conversations cannot be about your stuff, your content, your product. We keep hearing that. But what salespeople today are not aware of, is how to change the conversation. How to have conversations that are agile enough to switch between both content and context. They think it stops at asking consultative questions but it is so much more than that. Take the lead. What’s the conversation, the outcome, the importance really all about. Figure that out. Content might be King, but Context, well she rules the Kingdom!
The role of the salesperson today is multi-faceted and being able to bring out those parts of you that are entrepreneurial and marketing focussed is a critical path to success in today’s business landscape.
Be Bold, Brave and Brilliant
Bernadette McClelland is CEO of 3 Red Folders – a modern day saleswoman and keynote speaker on business growth, personal leadership and sales performance.
BIO: Business environments wanting to increase their revenue and profits, and differentiate themselves in a competitive market, ask for Bernadette McClelland because of her thought leadership on sales performance, her ideas on thinking beyond resilience and her fresh perspectives surrounding personal leadership skills — all designed to master the outcomes that matter.
Bernadette has proudly coached Harvard MBA students on their sales enablement curriculum, been the Master Asia Pacific coach for Anthony Robbins across twelve countries, authored five books on leadership and sales transformation, won a coveted Telstra award for Business Excellence, and continually shares her ideas around behaviour, the brain and business growth on stages in the UK, Europe, Thailand, India, NZ, Australia and North America.
Believing that sales performance is a leadership issue, you will also find her heading Melbourne’s human potential based sales performance consultancy, 3 Red Folders, as she navigates lead generation, message to market and digs deep into sales process activities with her clients in the mid-tier sector as well as founding ‘Women Who Sell’, an initiative designed to bring more women up to speed in their sales success.
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