Think, Think Again, and then ReThink to Relate to Your Prospects

by TedV

If your marketing efforts and sales propositions don’t engage your prospects where they live in their minds, all you’re doing is wasting budget allocations. Remember, no one wants quarter inch drill bits, they want quarter inch holes.

Helping a Client Rethink

I recently started a client on re-examining his company and services as he tries to define a new major sales emphasis. His company basically installs, repairs, and cleans – like many competitors. The company gets repeat business by doing an excellent job, but they get new business by being lowest bidder. Also, his prospects consider his services a “cost of doing business” and therefore contract with him only when they absolutely must.

To attempt to change this he’s starting with one significant service he provides that can be very lucrative for him, and is building a new marketing campaign from scratch: new ways to present his services, a new website, and a whole web approach.

He wants store owners to sign annual contracts with him to regularly performs his services. He’s building a body of evidence that doing so will save money. He’s also developing ideas that will help the stores draw and keep more customers because they use his services.

If you can transition in your prospects’ minds the “cost” of your offering into a revenue enhancer, you will succeed.

I gave my client a set of questions from his situation to help him think like his clients and prospects. The main points are not really new, but the wording is different and will help you think about your sales and marketing from a different angle.

New Questions, Vaguely Familiar

1) What do the owners really want?

2) Under the current situation why is it tough for owners to accomplish this?

3) How can you accomplish this for them the Easy Way?

4) If you do this for them, how do things improve? Tangibles and intangibles

5) How can the outcome of your assistance be turned into selling points for your prospects?

Think Again and Then ReThink

You really have to think from the prospect’s point of view. Sales and Marketing typically think and therefore talk/write from the perspective of their products and/or services.

Don’t believe me on this about yourself? Look at your website and your product brochures. Sales folks, record your next sales conversation on your smart phone. If the first impressions, statements, and verbal exclamations are NOT about you, your product, or your company, then you are a rare communicator.

Think Again. If you are still reading then your next reaction is that all owners want to improve their profits or get rid of problems. “That’s what they want but everybody knows that.”

True. But if you say it basically using those words they will ignore you. In the ’80s I could get an appointment by saying “I’d like to talk to you about increasing your profits and reducing your headaches,” but the ’80s were at least a hundred years ago.

ReThink. Look at these questions from a different angle. The client I wrote these question for calls mostly on grocery store owners. How does this refined question sound:

“If you are like most grocers, the electricity for your refrigerated cases is one of your biggest single costs to running your store. You know there are ways to reduce this expense, but it’s such a pain to come up with a way for your already too-busy employees to do the work.”

Start with that sentence and the store owner will at least listen to the next full paragraph you send his or her way.

Make This Work for You

Take each question above and:

Think about what you now say/write about your products/services.
Think Again about the first reaction you have about what your typical prospect thinks.
ReThink that into a way the prospect can hear you talking/writing all about their problems, goals, and issues form their perspective.

With each question try to go beyond your existing understanding. Really think again and then rethink how your prospects ponder their goals, issues, and problems.

Rest assured, they are not thinking about you and your products/services 10% of the time you believe they might be – at least not in relation to their goals, issues, and problems.

It’s not their job to understand what we want to talk about.

It’s our job to make it so they can see themselves benefiting from working with us.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sam Fiorella July 4, 2011 at 9:33 am

Excellent point Ted,

I had a client once that was going to discontinue a health food supplement due to poor sales. Those few who purchased the product were loyal repeat clients but not enough to keep the support the distribution of the product. In a last ditch effort to save the investment made in the product development, we convinced the client to ask the product’s few customers why they were so loyal.

In short, the results were: the products claimed purpose did not resonate with their daily needs/desires, but it did have a pleasant & welcomed side effect that provided relief from another, more critical ailment.

A quick re-positioning of the product’s branding and name to speak to the customer’s need turned this into one of the company’s fastest selling products within 6 months.

Moral of the story: shift your business’ sales & marketing efforts to a more customer-centric focus. People buy based on their needs and your product’s perceived value, which is not necessarily it’s technical feature listing.

Sam – Sensei.

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