If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed the blog’s recurring theme that’s been developing over the last couple months has been the struggle to get our mindsets “away” from the desire to make a transactional sale and move it towards the desire to make a meaningful contribution, which will result in even more sales…sorcery!
When you conduct a transaction someone is giving you an order. You’re providing very little other than the actual product or service that they already might have been buying elsewhere. You are easily replaced.
When you make a contribution you’re EARNING business by bringing new and better ideas than what has come before. That’s much harder to replace.
So here’s an idea to help you make that transition:
Every sales call you go on for the rest of the year, pretend you are the owner of the business you’re calling on. What would you want to hear? What would get your attention?
The business owner doesn’t want to hear about “saving money.”
It sounds nice to be sure, but the first problem is that it’s said so much, no one believes it anymore. It’s kind of like salespeople using the word “value” today in front of a customer. It means nothing now.
Besides, owners care about so much more than simply “saving money.”
They care about their working capital and cash flow.
They care about throughput and efficiencies.
They care about identifying their constraints and bottlenecks.
They care about their labor burden.
They care about generating additional profit.
They care about their worker safety and morale.
Of course being wise when it comes to deploying capital is an important part of a successful enterprise, but think about some of most admired brands and businesses of the world: Apple, Amazon, Zappos, Starbucks. They didn’t “save” their way to those positions.
All four of those brands could “save” billions in the short term by altering their business models, but they don’t because they are successful precisely because of those business models.
So isn’t it fascinating that “I want to save you money” is just about the most sophisticated sales pitch many b2b salespeople have been able to muster? It totally misses the mark. Maybe that’s one small part of the reason our profession is so scorned. We’re wasting people’s time trying to offer things they don’t believe and wouldn’t prioritize even if they did.
So the next time you have the opportunity to elevator pitch a decision maker, nix the “saving money” talk because it’s making you look like a clown and it’s giving the rest of us a bad name.
Say something like this instead:
“At X company we are experts at _______. We follow a plan that results in our customers finding new and better ways to _______.”
Then start asking some really pertinent questions about their business. You’ll know you’re on track if you find yourself in a conversation about the way the prospect’s operation works, exposing all the little nooks and crannies of need where you can apply yourself.
If done right you’ll have some credibility. NOW you can work together to find ways that you can impact their business in areas far more important than the price they pay for any particular commodity.
You can never truly own your business until you’ve taken ownership of your prospects’ and clients’ business first.