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Week 014 – Introduce Yourself Properly – Chapter 04

Let’s say I’m prospecting and I introduce myself as a sales trainer. This alone would probably not be crowned with success. At best, I might get a question like: “What sets you apart from other trainers?” Generally, though, the typical response would be: “We have a trainer already and don’t need another.” What to do?

My service could be described as “sales training.” Or as “sales seminars” or “coaching.” But isn’t that something completely different? Then again – who cares? Not the customer, certainly.

Don’t get this wrong: Of course it’s advisable to have a professionally sound designation for your services, but as far as prospecting is concerned this doesn’t get you very far. You could assign a new and legally registered term

to your service. That is what I did when I invented the name “VisionSelling” and hat it registered. If, for the purposes of prospecting, I say, “We are the only ones who offer training according to the VisionSelling model, an award winning seminar concept . . .” you can already tell what would happen: From the perspective of the service provider this might make sense at first glance – for the customer, however, it’s pure gibberish.

Preparation – Introduce Yourself Properly © Fotolia 2015 / snaptitude

Preparation – Introduce Yourself Properly © Fotolia 2015 / snaptitude

A colleague of mine, Thilo Baum, said this in his blog: “The mineral oil group Shell refers to one type of diesel as ʻFuelSave Dieselʼ and the other as ʻV-Power Diesel.ʼ The management seems to assume that the client knows what the difference is – a typical example of the type of thinking that is company-based instead of client-based.”

If you ever get your gas from Shell, you might know this: As you’re filling up your fuel tank, you ask yourself what the difference is. And because you can’t tell, you opt for the cheaper version. Alternately, the advertising for “V-Power” has worked on you and you seem to know the difference. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs have a relatively limited advertising budget compared to the one of Shell. That’s why they can’t spend a massive amount of money on advertising in order to create a premium brand. So, what’s the alternative?

What did I do? What do clients get out of a sales training with Stephan Heinrich? Well, they would shorten the sales cycle between the first contact between a customer and their purchase decision by 50 percent or more. In addition, they would diminish by half the services that they carry out prior to the purchasing decision. And they would increase the sales that they performance of all consultants by an average $25,000 contribution margin per year.

If you want to boost your success rate with conversation starters, you should begin with a viable benefit from the perspective of your customer, even if you can’t predict one before knowing the customer’s situation.

You might think now, “Wait a minute, I can’t guarantee that a $25,000 boost in sales performance is even possible.” And you’re right, you can’t. However, it is conceivable that the prospect of such a success is reason enough to try it. Thus I could say the following:

“Let’s assume it were possible to increase your net sales by $25,000. What, from your perspective, would be your next move?”

Or

“Let’s suppose you knew of a project undertaken by a firm in your industry that had helped increase the contribution margin per salesperson by around $25,000. What would you do to ensure similar results for your own company?”
The message is clear. It would be hardly believable and not very professional to come right out and say, “Book me and you’ll make an additional $25,000 per salesperson.” Therefore you have to present realistic results that your client could expect from collaboration, and do so at the beginning of your conversation.

Yet another list

Draw up a list of value-added categories that could be relevant to your target customer. Some ideas would include:

– Lower procurement costs
– A decrease in errors or defects
– A cut in personnel costs
– New customers
– More orders from existing customers
– Logistical optimization
– Capital reduction
– Risk minimization
– A decrease in other expenses
– Setting oneself apart from the competition
– Safeguarding the firm’s future

Work through the list and add things if required. Headlines that are considered important should then be projected onto the wall of your meeting room. If you want to work as a team, you can hand out index cards and ask your colleagues to write, for each headline, specific examples of value-added ideas for relevant target customers.

Don’t write, “Our XY product will cut your personnel costs by saving you time.” That wouldn’t be helpful, since saving time does not automatically mean a decrease in personnel costs.

If the client were to save ten minutes for every one of their employees each day, that would not cut costs by a long shot, because the employees could hardly be expected to sacrifice parts of their salary just because they have ten more minutes of free time every day. A reduction in costs would be achieved if the client could let go of employees without adversely affecting the company’s overall performance, something that is rarely the case. Instead you would have to demonstrate precisely what the employees would be able to do with the time they’ve saved.

Therefore it would be better to say, “Our XY product would offer the members of your sales team ten more minutes daily for cold calling. This would correspond to a boost in performance of about two percent.”

See how this works? Now continue gathering ideas about how to frame your offer. Look for engaging formulations. Think about the customer, and the customer will be sure to think of you.

Next week, I will show you how to find your relevant contact. Afterwards, we will discuss how to raise the curiosity of exactly this prospect.

Best wishes,
Stephan Heinrich