Tale of The Sale:
I was in my mid-20s and at an industry trade association’s semi-annual meeting. This was my company’s first year in the group. Some 99% of the people at this event did not know me or even my company. This was my chance to get in front of higher-level people from some of my larger prospects. I had the attendee list in my back pocket with the names of companies and leaders highlighted. I was not leaving the event until all of those names were checked-off.
Everyone wore name badges, so it would be easy to identify people. Cocktail hour on that first night was buffet-style with no assigned seating. I grabbed a drink and checked out the tables. I noticed the CEOs from three of my target companies sitting together. They were all friendly competitors. Two were second-generation family businesses. Their families had known each other for 40 years so I was for sure the outsider. I put down my beer and asked if anyone was sitting with them. One of the CEOs said, “You are!” with a big smile. I was in!
This was the chance I had been waiting for and, even better, I was prepared. I had recently read a book called New Sales. Simplified. by Mike Weinberg (American Management Association, 2013). This book was a turning point in my sales career for many reasons, but one chapter hit me harder than all the rest. It was Chapter 8. That section of the book is about messaging, or what Mike calls “The Sales Story”. The sales story was the tool I had perfected leading up to this event – and it was about to help me stand out in a big way among these three CEOs.
It wasn’t but two minutes before one of the CEOs said something like, “So, Dominic, tell me what it is you guys do. I’m not familiar with your company and I have been doing this for a long time”. The other two CEOs nodded in agreement. They had not heard about my company either. I’m sure they were expecting some B.S. story about how the business was family-owned, innovative, unique, or whatever buzzword nonsense that the typical salesperson spits out. But I didn’t do this. Instead, I told them my sales story and about the problems we had solved for customers. The problems I described were compelling and relevant to their businesses. They had heard all about these problems many times before in meeting after meeting. My message really wasn’t about me. Instead, it was all about what was in it for them if they did business with us. That message and sales story made sense to them. I watched them go from being politely friendly to genuinely interested in me and my company. One of the CEOs went to get a colleague and said, “You need to set up a time to talk to Dominic. He has some things we need. Get him in touch with the right people”. This all happened because my messaging was spot-on.
Lesson Learned From This Tale of The Sale
Today, all three of these companies are my customers. It took a while, but that conversation enabled a no-name sales guy at a no-name company to sell product for mission-critical applications like airplanes, explosives, and medical devices. Today, these same people and their employees call me for advice within our industry. Why do they trust me? It’s because they see me as a strategic partner and advisor. All of this started by differentiating myself with a spot-on Sales Story.
Your message is incredibly important while prospecting and selling, especially when you can do it effectively over the phone. We live in a world of spam emails that come one right after another. It’s the same terrible approach with no value whatsoever. If you can learn to craft your message the right way, it will change your sales world. EVERYTHING gets easier. Your confidence will increase greatly and you will become a businessperson who stands out in a sea of self-focused sellers.
What motivated me to write this blog? The author of the book I told you about has become my friend. Now Mike Weinberg has launched a video coaching course that is focused on the Sales Story and messaging. The cost vs. value is off the charts. I am not getting paid to promote it and I was not asked to either. I simply believe in the strongest possible way that Mike’s course can change your sales trajectory and make your job easier. So, I want to share what I’ve learned.
Every sales leader and sales manager should buy this course for their teams. Today, your team is probably still grounded and working from home. It’s the perfect time to learn, and the smallest investment for the greatest value. If you asked all your reps to tell you, “What is it that we do?”, would you get a different answer from all of them? Are they united in their messaging? If not, think about the confusion that causes in the marketplace. Personally, I have spent more than the cost of this course on customer dinners – and a hundred times that amount on trade-shows.
Here is the link. Click it and make your life easier.
P.S. This list is from Mike’s page and what you can expect from the course:
Your confidence goes through the roof because you know what you say or write is relevant, compelling, and effective.
Your messages get returned.
You secure more meetings.
You avoid getting commoditized.
You are able to better articulate value and justify your premium pricing.
You win more business!
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