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Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Before founding MindShare Consulting, he was a partner with Deloitte Consulting, where he served clients and mentored consultants for more than two decades.
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Jill Konrath's bio Speaking: Have Jill speak at your upcoming sales meeting or conference Fresh Sales Strategies: Get weekly selling tips delivered to your inbox Download: Corporate downloaders are also incredibly savvy regarding their options.
They know that products or services like yours are available everywhere—and probably at a lower cost. From their perspective, almost everything is a commodity. Cynicism reigns supreme.
The only thing that seems to counteract it is real customer stories with actual, tangible, and measurable results. The reality of the situation is that people in big companies really do have an unrealistic workload.
Corporate decision makers are often too busy to: They get sucked into a chain of band-aid solutions, making kneejerk decisions to put out the fires and jerry-rigging systems to keep them afloat.
Rather than addressing root causes, they treat the symptoms, which ultimately leads to a whole slew of unintended negative consequences. The last thing in the world that corporate decision makers want is to create more work for themselves. Even the very best, most positive change is disruptive.
Their extreme need to protect their time at all costs makes the status quo your most formidable competitor when selling to big companies. Change really has to be worthwhile to get someone to move. Many times prospective decision makers will set this trap too by asking for information on your new products, services, solutions, or technology.
Never, ever expect corporate decision makers to intuit the value of your offering or make the calculations themselves. Your biggest competition today is the status quo. Unnecessary change only adds to the stress of an already overburdened workforce. Make sure every conversation or meeting is well-planned and provides high value.
Sales is not a bunch of mysterious, manipulative techniques you can master that trick customers into downloading from you. These sellers know that if they help their customers solve their problems and achieve their objectives, success automatically follows. Once they identify these areas, they literally lead a sales campaign to help their prospect understand two things: This demand-generation focus is proactive and provocative, as opposed to the traditional seller who simply responds to existing needs.
Sellers who are successful today know that customers can go online and find out all that stuff in seconds. They realize that they must create value with every customer interaction.
They do this by helping clients see their business operations differently, by sharing useful information, by questioning the status quo, and by doing much more. They make customers think. They bring customers ideas and insights. Customers want to get together with these sellers because they always get something of value from the meetings.
They know that their customers could care less about downloading new software or training their staff. They realize that customers invest in their offering because of the outcome they get. These top sellers are fully cognizant that their knowledge and expertise are the reasons that customers want to work with them.
By bringing your knowledge, expertise, and ideas to the relationship, you separate yourself from all the product-pushing peddlers out there. Ultimately you become irresistible; customers want to do business with you.
They like the status quo. So do the calculations for them. Quantify the difference you can make. Give them numbers, percents, time frames, and statistics.
Your product or service is simply a tool. No one wants it in and of itself. You must get this firmly implanted in your head. Customers download your product or service only because it helps them improve their business operation. Think about when you were a teenager. Adults probably tried to share their hard-earned wisdom with you on numerous occasions.
The louder they talked, the faster you turned them off. In order for anyone to penetrate your protective walls, they had to take a different approach. When you know your target market well, you know the trade shows they attend, the magazines and trade journals they read, the Web sites they visit, and more.
You invest less money on your sales and marketing with significantly improved results.
Because prospective customers can find you more easily, referrals go up. Finally, you differentiate your business from competitors, thus increasing your profitability. Pure and simple. Your vague or nebulous statements about the benefits that customers get from using your product or service are likely the root cause of your account entry problems.
A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from using your products or services. It is focused on outcomes and stresses the business value of your offering. A value proposition is financially oriented and speaks to the critical issues your target market is facing. A strong value proposition is specific, often citing numbers or percentages. It may include a quick synopsis of your work with similar customers as a proof source and demonstration of your capability.
Both the elevator speech and the USP are cousins of the value proposition, but both lack its punch for capturing the attention of corporate decision makers. Your offering is simply a tool. Decision makers care only about the results your offering delivers for them. Corporate downloaders are particularly attracted to phrases that are linked to their business goals and objectives.
Can your business do any of these things? How about something similar? Perhaps you never really thought about your products or services from this perspective. But because this is what corporate decision makers listen for, make sure to integrate these business-oriented terms into your value proposition. The more specific your value proposition, the more attractive it is to decision makers. The very best value propositions deliver tangible, measurable results that are highly desirable to prospective downloaders.
Tangible value is typically expressed in numbers, percentages, and time frames. Examples might be: A well-designed Web site may cut the need for customer service staff. A more efficient just-in-time JIT ordering process decreases the amount of warehouse space and its associated costs. Always try to quantify the indirect values as well as the direct ones. Sometimes the value of your offering is not quite so easy to measure. Perhaps you help companies lower risk, increase teamwork, enhance marketplace image, or improve morale.
Maybe your products are eco-friendly or made by disabled workers. To increase your sales success, take these intangibles and make them tangible. For example, if morale is improved, fewer sick days are taken and employee turnover is reduced. She told me that if a seller approached her and said he could reduce waste by just 1 percent, she would meet with him immediately.
Because she knew exactly how much her company spent on waste, and it was a lot of money. Every penny she saved would go right to the bottom line. Powerful value propositions open doors—quickly!
Making the effort to clarify your value propositions is well worth the time invested in the process. Here are several well-crafted value propositions that have proven extremely effective in opening the doors of large corporate accounts. With the spiraling costs of health care today, this is a critical issue. Our clients typically see 40 percent to percent improvements in key operating metrics such as profit margins, rates, and cost savings. Impressive business results coupled with real-life stories are irresistible to corporate downloaders.
They attract. They magnetize. They open doors. They get you into big companies. When you truly understand the business value you bring to customers, you work harder to get into accounts. Ultimately when you know your product or service makes a valuable difference, you sell a lot more! Recently I talked with a woman who said she did training for sales organizations.
As a nosy but friendly competitor, I asked about her programs. She told me they were based on the appreciative inquiry model that builds upon what salespeople already do right. More orders. Fewer losses to the competition. Bigger or more profitable contracts.
Better customer retention. Your existing customers are a veritable fountain of information regarding the business value of your product or service. Customer Interview Questions Consider the questions below as a guideline for your customer meeting.
To get better data, customize your questions to your product or service offering. Both tangible values and intangible values need to be considered as you work on strengthening your value proposition. If your customer shares a tough-to-measure result, such as improved communications, brainstorm on how to make the business value tangible.
Before you started using our offering, how did you handle things? Why did you decide to change to or to use our service? What problems were you hoping it would solve? What objectives were you expecting it to help you achieve? On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate our offering in terms of helping you reach your desired result?
Why did you select this rating? Did you realize any positive results that surprised you? What value did our offering provide to your company? How would you quantify the value of these improvements?
How did it impact. What were its ramifications on. What was the effect on. What improvements did you realize? How did that help your bottom line or with your growth objectives? What is doing that worth to your organization?
What other areas in your company benefited because of our work together? Can you help me quantify the payoff your firm realized from using our offering?
Talk to people in different areas and in different positions in the company. They each have a unique and highly valuable perspective. Quantify, quantify, quantify. Where are the dollar savings? How can you measure the increased productivity? How much have you increased sales? The more you can make your value proposition tangible, the easier it will be to get your foot in the door of big companies. You need their perspectives to clarify your primary value proposition.
Many consultants and professional services providers find it difficult to quantify the measurable results customers realize from using their offerings. I understand their frustrations. With 15 years of consulting under my belt, none of my product launch clients measured the effectiveness of my work.