Faking your way through sales calls?

Ever heard of the saying ‘No Pain, No Gain’? This usually goes through my mind at the gym but it has a whole new meaning in business. Latest research from B2B consulting company Altify shows that when sellers are able to uncover the customer’s business problem, their sales cycle decreases by 21 percent. Even more interesting news, is that 32 percent say they are not effective at uncovering the customer’s business problem. ie. their Pain.

Made Pain My Business

I’ve made it the cornerstone of my marketing consulting process to not only uncover a prospect’s pain but to teach companies how to systematize their messaging on that very pain. For example, when we researched a shipping company’s prospects’ pain, it turned out that sensitive materials such as chemicals were often delayed due to the increased complexity of handling. These delays were costing millions of dollars to the construction industry. The plan then became to make this ‘pain’ the crux of our messaging both on the website and in pitches.

Going In Blind

When a company goes in with a canned presentation and no real demonstration of its expertise in a specific industry or its pain points, every meeting with the prospect is a wasted opportunity. Wasted time for the prospect (yes, I’ve wasted enough time with clueless vendors over the past 20 years as a corporate purchaser of services) and wasted time for the seller who busted their gut trying to get a meeting with key decision makers. When my client who was a generic leadership coach niched in the pain point of ‘the inability to make decisions at the mid management level’ in small manufacturing plants, she had a much better closing rate. She had the confidence and the hook to get CEOs to now talk to her about this very specific problem. Prior to our work together, she’d go into sales meetings blindly trying to guess at what the prospects’ leadership issue might have been and it was a hit and miss game.

How To Stop The Guessing Game

When we start working with a company to grow their sales, the first thing we do is try to pick an industry or an interest group to target. We research the most viable one through one on one conversations with prospects in those groups. We then ask them about what pain points our expertise could most help them with. We pick the most salient and costly problem and voila, we position the company as an expert in that pain point. It’s as easy as that to figure out the prospects’ pain and to specialize in it. What’s less easy is the process of selecting the targets and the analysis of the data coming from the interviews. But the gist of it is a simple process. It’s how marketers have figured out how to market for hundreds of years. Humans don’t really change. Tools do.
Want to find out how to differentiate your company? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk