Today's guest post is by David Hibbard, coauthor of SOAR Selling: How to Get Through to Almost Anyone (The Proven Method for Reaching Decision Makers) and founder of Dialexis. Hear Dave speak on November 16 at the Sales 2.0 Leadership Conference in Philadelphia. For more information or questions about the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The other day I was on a call with a new prospect. I delivered my value proposition with clarity and professionalism. I asked questions and listened. The prospect asked questions and listened. The call was going pretty well, I thought.
Then the client told me no.
No? Are you kidding? I couldn’t believe it. I thought I had done a great job and the prospect still said no? What’s wrong with this guy?
Then it hit me. As much as I wanted to blame the client for “not getting it,” I remembered that it’s my job to take responsibility for the results I generate from my value statement and strategy.
Hearing “no” is often a good signal to look at your value proposition and how you had delivered it. Here are a few considerations that may sharpen your selling skills and, ultimately, your results.
Rethink Your Value Statement
Like me, you probably feel your value statement is excellent. Most salespeople do. I have no doubt that you have spent time developing it, your training department may have directed you, and, ultimately, your sales manager had weighed in on what you should say. So, when you deliver it on one of your prospecting calls, it should go over pretty big, right? Remember this: you’re trying to create interest with the prospect – not someone in your company. Just because you believe your value statement is compelling doesn’t mean the prospect does.
Talk about the Prospect’s Interests
So it’s simple; all you have to do is figure out what the prospect is interested in, determine if your organization offers a solution that aligns with the client’s interest, and there you have it! To understand what executives are interested in, you simply have to look for clues – and those clues are on every firm’s Website. The formula for finding the clues for large enterprise accounts is R + CI + C + D = VS (Research + Corporate Initiative + Connectors + Differentiator = Value Statement). Note: Connectors are simply anything you discover you have in common with the president or company. They then become talking points sprinkled in when dialoging.
Take a look on the Website of a company under “About Us,” then look at “Leadership Team,” then click on “President/CEO,” and then search for “Annual Report” or “Letter from the President.” This will usually lead you to the firm’s Corporate Initiative.
Initiative is not the same as the organization’s Mission Statement. They are significantly different. The Corporate Initiative is what the president is focused on now. It may be to increase revenue in a vertical industry or enter the market with an entirely new product. Either way, once you discover the Corporate Initiative, you can determine if you or your firm have a differentiator that can support your prospect to achieve their objectives.
To discover what smaller firms are interested in, you have to understand fundamental B2B pain. Their situation may be quite different than that of the enterprise account. You may not find their corporate initiative on their Website; instead, you can look for “indicators” of corporate initiative or vision.
As a common denominator, you can make a fair assumption that most small firms are focused on “cash flow,” a common pain point. As a result, you can determine what your firm offers that will help your prospect generate top-line revenue. The formula for small firms is CP + I + C + D = VS (Client Pain + Indicators + Connectors + Differentiator = Value Statement). Indicators may be considered the “light” version of a Corporate Initiative.
It’s not always easy, but – if you can learn to accept 100 percent responsibility for generating a “no” on your prospecting calls – you will have an excellent base from which to be introspective. By accepting responsibility (not blame) for the no’s you get, you’ll be able to move from frustration to creation. Every new prospecting call that didn’t go the way you wanted it to will provide you with the opportunity to re-tool your offer. You move from blame to gain. How great is that?