Most Popular Mar Posts at SalesTactics.org

Most Popular Mar PostsThe most popular Mar posts here at SalesTactics.org were all about how to start a conversation.

Since many people say they can sell, if only they can get the conversation, this isn't surprising. The reality is often a little different, though, with new-to-selling business owners believing charm and technical knowledge are enough. They frequently run into prospects who don't play along. Beginning the dialogue with the prospect is an essential first step of the sales process. If it isn't accomplished effectively, nothing else will happen!

Most Popular Mar Posts at SalesTactics.org

#1 - Foot In the Door technique Is Terrible Advice

Common advice is to find a "foot in the door" low cost product or service to begin a sales relationship with. While this sounds good in theory, many hidden factors combine to devalue you and your offering in the mind of the prospect. Who you attract and what problem you solve for them dictate your income, and if you "play it small" that's what you'll get.

This post attracted a lot of attention and discussion. The major issues I wanted to highlight were the headtrash this technique reveals, and the fact that most people totally lack a follow-up plan if they do sell a "foot in the door" product or service. The result is a lot of running around, scraping together small amounts of money in the struggle to survive. Is this how you want to conduct your business?

#2 - How To Find Pain Points

Pain points are urgent, typically emotionally-driven problems or symptoms of problems that we can resolve for our customers. But how do you uncover them? Fortunately, a time investment is the only thing required. You won't have to fight or struggle to find pain points for your niche--friendly decision makers will simply tell them to you if you speak with enough of them.

This article discusses how to get those conversations, and what to listen for.

#3 - How To Make an Effective Elevator Speech

When asked, "So, what do you do?" is your answer succinct and effective in starting a conversation...or do you hum and haw your way through the response and turn off your listener?

A good elevator speech should be interesting and do the job of qualifying your prospect. It's a tool that, when crafted and executed correctly, separates those people who do have a problem you can solve from those who you shouldn't be spending more energy on at the moment. Learn how to prepare yours here.

My Take On the Most Popular Mar Posts

What these results are showing me is the beginning of some mature consideration of the sales process by you. Yes, you! You've stepped beyond the idea of looking for a "magic bullet" in sales, and realized there are process steps here. And the first one is starting that conversation effectively. If you can't do that, nothing else matters.

As a result, I'll be looking at the qualifying step a little more closely this coming month. That's the next step in the process.

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How To Make a Good Elevator Pitch

How To Make a Good Elevator PitchHow to make a good elevator pitch is one of the basic questions I get. And with a networking event coming up fast, it's on my mind. An elevator pitch is also called a 30-second commercial, or in my lingo, Core Message. What's scary is for all the people searching and asking about how to write a good one, there are many more who haven't thought about it at all.

"So, what do you do?"

"I, uh, sell cell phones."

"I work for a company that makes cardboard boxes."

"Well, I do SEO."

Result? Listener immediately gets bored and turns away.

On the other end of the spectrum are salespeople and business owners who want to present and sell to whoever is standing in front of them, right then and right there. Woah, Nellie.

A Mental Transformation On How To Make a Good Elevator Pitch

Sales trainer Sandy Schussel recently shared his views in "Down with elevator speeches!" The article explains Schussel's views that you should change your thinking: 'audio billboard' is his approach. Bold and compelling. Sounds good. He lists three components to an effective audio billboard:

1. Who do you solve problems for?

2. What specific few key problems do you solve for them?

3. Why should they buy from you?

What I like about Sandy's article on how to make a good elevator pitch is the way he explains these openers should be conversations between two human beings. There should be a little back-and-forth. You ought not to be speaking 100% of the time.

How To Make a Good Elevator Pitch With a Built-In Rollercoaster

Wilson Peng, an entrepreneur, also wrote an article about how to make a good elevator pitch I believe is worth sharing. Peng's different point of view, emphasizing how to "bring [your listener] on a fun rollercoaster", stood out. In my opinion the infographic at the end isn't all that useful. But the article, including the admonishment to ask your prospect a question at the conclusion of your speech, is.

How To Make a Good Elevator Pitch With My Approach

So here's my take on how to make a good elevator pitch. First, don't "wing it". You'll sound terrible and bore your listener. Second, take the time to find out the critical issues you fix for your clients. Use these as your screening tool. Yes, you are qualifying as you deliver your elevator speech--if you set it up right. Third, end with a question to get the prospect's involvement.

Here's mine:

"My name is Jason Kanigan, and I'm a sales force developer and trainer. I work with business owners, sales executives and front line sales staff who are:

  • frustrated that price keeps coming up as the number one objection from prospects
  • concerned their monthly revenue is up and down like a yo-yo
  • upset because they or their sales staff are either unwilling or unable to make prospecting calls consistently and effectively.

But I don't know if you're experiencing any of those issues..."

and I trail off. I say all this quite slowly. Much slower than I normally speak. Between each problem point I leave about a "one-mississippi" of air time. The slowdown gives the listener the chance to actually hear and understand what I'm saying. (This is also the main reason why phone prospecting goes wrong--the salesperson rushes through the delivery of the opening, and it goes right over the prospect's head...giving them the chance to react with "I'm not interested," and hang up. Want better results? Start with slowing down.) Now if this prospect really is having any of those problems, their brain will run and get that mental image. It'll resonate. They'll open up because I got past the initial trust hurdle, and start sharing some of The Truth with me about what's really going on in their world. Now we can have a conversation.

As another option for when you need a fast and killer differentiator, have a mission statement ready like mine:

"I'm on a mission to transform 100,000 salepeople from being perceived by the public as slimy tricksters who will say anything to get an order into trusted advisors who are well rewarded for their expertise."

Everyone who hears this is going to ask, "How do you do that?"

A final thought about how to make a good elevator pitch. These are for use in situations where you don't have a whole lot of time, right? So don't expect to sell your prospect right there. Use the opener to start the conversation. Qualify them a little--do they have Need for what you offer? (My students will see something important here.) Get them interested in talking with you further, and book an appointment to go into more detail. Then you can sell.

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