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Bigger Sales: It’s The Story That Matters!

It's the story that matters  Bigger sales come from crafting a story that tells why your solution is different, better, and worth more to your customer.  But that’s just part of the equation.

It happened again.  I just sat through a pitch with a potential service provider who was long on bullet points and completely void of real value for my particular needs.  Why do sales people still present like this?

When you think about it, sales strategy is all about making sure that your reps hit their quota, right?  One of the biggest inhibitors to achieving quota is the inability to communicate value. If your sales team cannot communicate why your solution is different, better and worth more, there’s nothing your sales strategy can do to fix it.  If people buy on emotion, why are you simply presenting facts?  Your message should contain significant value to your audience, communicate your offering, contrast it with your competition and be wrapped in a story that the customer can identify with.  Your goal is to leave them thinking “Hey!  That sounds exactly like my situation.  This might work for me!”

The messaging element – what salespeople say, do, and write in order to create customer value – is often far from adequate. To be effective, a sales strategy needs to focus on customer conversations as a way to create a distinctive purchase experience and separate your company from the competition. To do that, there are three key sales areas that your sales strategy should focus on.

#1: Demonstrate Value

We all dream of the situation where the prospect has already recognized and wants to solve the problem that your solution addresses. In this selling environment, you don’t need a solid sales strategy and message. But too often, you are not in a great selling environment and you need to work the prospect from every angle. You need to create opportunities. And to help prospects see the value of your offering, you need to tell stories with contrast. You need to tell both the “before” and “after” story – and it’s the contrast between the two that creates a powerful perception of value. The bigger the contrast you can create between the “pain” the customer experienced before your solution and the “gain” the customer experienced with your solution, the greater the perceived value.

#2: Position and Differentiate

Most technology companies position themselves for a competitive bake-off of features and benefits. They talk about “why us?” But the real questions that customers are considering are “why change?” and “why now?” A successful sales strategy requires a new approach for positioning and differentiating your offering. To stand out from the crowd, you need to understand that your real competitor is the status quo and that you need to help your prospects make the decision to change before you help them make the decision to choose you.  Data tells part of this story but without involving them in the emotion of the solution, you’re only part way there.

#3: Tell a Compelling and Memorable Story

When salespeople prepare for conversations with suspects or prospects, they usually focus on getting all of the facts straight about their offerings. And certainly, you need to be accurate in what you say about your solution. But you also need to connect with your customers – and the best way to do that is through stories. Telling personal stories, as well as using metaphors and analogies, helps bring your message alive in a way that reciting facts and data simply cannot. Once you start sharing stories as part of the way you talk to customers, you’ll see relationships change. Your customer relationships will be deeper and more rewarding.

I’ll write more in the future about how to craft exciting stories that engage your customers.  The primer though is to simply to listen with the ear of the customer.  Telling a story that is unique to them and solves their problem is a far better first step than a fact filled PowerPoint presentation.

 

Until next time,

Crowe Mead

www.betterleadershipblog.com

 

 

 

 

 

Crowe Mead

www.betterleadershipblog.com

Posted on by Crowe Mead in Leadership, Sales, Strategy

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