Guest post contributed by Tim Riesterer.
As I write this blog, I’m in a hotel room preparing to deliver a keynote for a company whose executives attended my breakout session “Getting the Customer to Do Something Different,” at the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference in San Francisco last year. These executives felt that “breaking the status quo barrier” and finding ways to overcome prospect indecision were topics worthy of being featured at their sales kick-off meeting.
They’re right. Beating the status quo is a real challenge for companies today. This isn’t too surprising: salespeople are being given growth objectives by their companies that are greater than the actual growth in the markets in which they compete.
That means just getting your fair share of organic market growth isn’t going to help you achieve your company’s goals. Salespeople now realize that they’re going to have to increase urgency levels among prospects – even before prospects themselves admit they’re ready for change.
What does it takes to get customers to do something different? Today, customers are clearly expecting:
- More value from their conversations with sellers (going beyond them knowing just what the features and benefits of their products are);
- Help identifying potential problems or missed opportunities they may not even be aware of; and
- Insight into how those problems may have a potential impact on their business.
Your customers are so busy trying to keep their businesses going that they don’t have the time to explore these issues themselves. The challenge for you as sellers, then, is to be able to understand the story that the customer is living in, the changes that will impact their story, and how you can help the customer deal most effectively with those changes.
Positioning yourself in this way means most companies will have to reconsider their marketing and sales messages, tools, and training. More than likely, you will need new stories and new skills to succeed at loosening the status quo.
Customers know that your companies are seeing and solving these problems for other companies that look just like them. So they expect salespeople to act that way when they get a meeting. Instead of treating it as an opportunity to tell the company story or introduce new products, customers want you to share insights based on your experiences in the market. After all, you see more people who look like them than they do. So, act that way.
With more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience, Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Corporate Visions, is a recognized thought leader, practitioner, and author regarding marketing and sales messaging. Tim’s books, “Customer Message Management” and “Conversations That Win the Complex Sale,” focus on improving sales-ready messages and tools that salespeople can use to create a compelling story that wins more deals.