At some point or another we are probably all guilty of becoming over exuberant about our robust sales message and forget to translate it into a focused discussion of what our customers actually want to hear about. It is certainly a good thing to be energized and excited about the product or service you are offering, but sometimes we get carried away and our sales message becomes a deluge of information rather than a tightly crafted rationale for how we can make our customer’s life better and easier. From a prospective customer’s perspective, this can be deadly.
In his article, “Avoid These Three Deadly Sins of Sales Messaging”, author Tim Riesterer details the deadly sins and offers suggestions for how to avoid them.
Know What to Say, What Not to Say and How to Say It
Riesterter says, “The entire deal is riding on what you have to say, even more than what you have to sell.” He discusses the three deadly sins of sales messaging and how you can successfully avoid them in order to create more demand and win more business.
Sin No. 1: Blabbermouth
As he points out, you can actually say too much. You know so much and you assume your customer wants to know as much as you do. So with the best of misguided intentions, sales personnel often jam-pack presentations and sales tools with every feature and function your service or product has to offer.
“A deluge of detail” as Riesterter describes it, especially when provided too soon, can have detrimental effects by creating confusion and opening areas that may be competitive weaknesses.
Sin No. 2: Self-focused
Always remember that customers live in their story and look at things from their point of view. Rather than hearing why your company or your solution is the best, they want to know what you’ve learned from your customers, what you’ve learned in the market, and what resulting solutions you’ve engineered that can add value to their business.
Sin No. 3: Vanilla Pudding
One of the biggest complaints from decision-makers is that most salespeople fail to clearly tell what’s different about you. “Differentiation” is a key marketing best practice. Since so many offerings are very similar, your audience is just looking for the one or two really relevant points that they can tie back to very important needs in order to make a decision.
Find the Sweet Spot for Your Message
Riesterter suggests finding what he calls the “value wedge” for your sales message — the area that overlaps with your world, your prospect’s world, and your competitor’s world. That area, he says, will help you identify what you can do for the customer that is different from what competitors can do—and how that is relevant to something the prospect cares about.
To find your unique value wedge to build your sales messaging around, make sure it meets the following three criteria:
- It’s important to your prospect — Prospects live in their own world with their own problems, challenges, and issues. Make sure your solution is focused on resolving them.
- It’s unique to you — Highlight the distinct strengths of your solution. In what ways do they clearly outperform the current approach or competitive alternatives in addressing the prospect’s challenges and risks?
- It’s provable and defensible — Make sure that you can support and validate your value claims and solution strengths with credible evidence, and then clearly demonstrate how you can help prospects achieve the desired outcome and deliver measurable value.
By using the value wedge you avoid each of the three major messaging pitfalls by:
- Not telling your prospect too much. You’ll focus the discussion on just what matters.
- Focusing on your prospect’s story, first. You’ll be talking about the issues and trends they are concerned about.
- Explaining what makes you different. You won’t sound like everyone else. You’ll be zeroing in on their issues and how your company specifically addresses those problems with capabilities that offer an advantage.
Successful sales conversations require you to identify and present your value wedge. Prospects want to clearly see a difference between what you offer and both their status quo and the competitive alternatives.
Implications for Senior Living Providers
Know your customers and understand the key areas they want to know about that are most relevant to their needs, problems and decision making. Resist the temptation to do a general “information dump” and tailor your initial sales message to those salient points that resonate most effectively with your prospective customers and their families. Sometimes simpler really is better!