You may be losing out on sales to potential and existing customers because your salespeople are going in with the same canned presentations they’ve been using for years. Or, they’re using techno-babble which might be understood by people in your company and industry but is just noise to the rest of us. Plain language is the way to go.
In addition to that your sales people need a plain ‘elevator pitch’.
“An elevator (lift) pitch, elevator speech, or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition.
“The name "Elevator Pitch" reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will continue after the elevator ride or end in exchange of business card or a scheduled meeting.” - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elevator_pitch”
Salespeople do, of course, have the advantage of a potential customer sitting opposite them, and not getting off at the next floor, when making their pitch. I would suggest that the sales presentation contains not one but two elevator pitches. A short version (very short) and a longer version - no longer than three times the length of the short version. If at the end of those the client does not engage there is a problem. I also believe that the use of a mini-flipchart or using a laptop, or similar, to make a Power Point presentation are not productive. They’re crutches. The potential customer needs to be totally focussed on the salesperson and their words.
A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible, and measurable, results a customer gets from using your products (products are goods or services, or a combination of both). The more specific the value proposition the better it is. The value proposition needs to be financially oriented and speak to critical issues your customer is facing. By including specific numbers and percentages the customer’s attention will be gained even faster.
Strong value propositions clearly describe results such as, for example:
- Increased revenues for the customer
- Increased market share for the customer
- Decreased costs through the use of your product
- Improved operational efficiency
To strengthen the value proposition the focus need to be changed from being ‘seller focussed’ i.e.:
- How can we get their business?
- What do we need to do to convince the customer that we’re the best?
- What needs to be done to convince the main decision maker that we’re the best?
- What needs to be done to get the customer to buy now?
We need to change to focussing on the customer’s needs:
- How can we provide more value to the customer?
- How can we help out customer be more successful?
- How can we provide support to our customer?
It is vital that our value proposition describes in detail what the quantifiable benefits of our products are. This is very important if our selling prices are higher than those of our competitors but provide more in terms of value.
We also need to explain how our product will cope with changes in technology that enter the market. Is our product adaptable to possible changes that may occur? We also need to allay any fears the customer may have about buying and using our product. For example, is our product ‘green’?
If the customer raises the issue of competitive products it is not wise to criticise these products. We should rather restate our quantifiable benefits in terms of value to the client; cost savings, proven reliability and the back-up we offer.
If we succeed in involving the customer and a conversation starts we should listen very carefully to the feedback we are getting. And without becoming boring counter any objections by revisiting the key points in our value proposition.