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Elements…

A LinkedIn connection of mine (the Global Business Unit Leader of a multinational company – meaning he’s higher up the corporate food chain than me) liked a LinkedIn article.  That was influence enough to catch my attention.  (I like hangin’ with the higher ups; read what they read; don’t you?)

The article was posted by a Vistage Chair.  Vistage is another organization that has great influence with me because of their renowned work with business owners.

The content was slightly dated (2017); and admittedly, the title of the article was suspicious, “The Greatest Sales Pitch I’ve Seen All Year”.  I mean, how many times do we read bold claims only to be disappointed when we get past the headline?  Nonetheless, I pressed on…

In the article, Dave Gerhardt laid out 5 Elements of a compelling, strategic story in a specific sequence.  I liked the premise – a “step by step” approach.  Simple, clear, concise – exactly the qualities I believe Buyers prefer, but don’t usually receive.  Sales & marketing people continuously complicate things (in my opinion).  I got to element 3.

Element 1: Acknowledge (and then attack) the status quo most Buyers have, and most Sellers cannot overcome.  This totally aligns with my experience and opinions about why Buyers don’t buy.

Element 2: Suggest “name the enemy”.  I liked that technique too.  Buyers want a simple answer to their question, “Why should I buy?”  Most Sellers struggle to avoid offering an overly complicated answer.

Then came Element 3: Tease the prospect.  Houston, we have a problem… and just when I thought I was about to learn “the greatest sales pitch”…

The article’s premise was Buyers want to simply have a (simple) business conversation on why they should buy.  The author’s proposed solution?  An always-on chat bot connected to real-time email(s) and the ability to schedule a product demo via access to the Seller’s calendar.  So, once you have captured the Buyer’s interest (similar to the way my interest was captured as outlined above); you hit ‘em with artificial intelligence and email automation?  Ouch!

Look, I know it ain’t easy out there.  But I really do believe Buyers want to have simple, effective conversations on how they can improve their business situation, whatever the product or service in question is.  Putting yourself in their position, wouldn’t you want such a straight forward conversation if you were buying from you?

Permit me to propose an alternative “3 Elements”.  In my arena, I believe every Buyer has 3 fundamental questions – sequenced exactly as listed below (there’s that “step-by-step” approach); that the successful Seller must address.

Element 1: “How would I know if I needed a new system?”  Most Buyers don’t.  As a Seller, I’m not in the business of convincing the unwilling.  If they don’t believe they need a new system, say “Thank you” and move on.

Element 2: “If I do, can it wait?”  It usually can.  It’s OK if we follow their time-table.  I’m going to have quota next month and next year.  When Sellers “press”, Buyers usually retreat to “No Decision”; but not until forcing us to play that dreaded game, “the looooong looooose”!

Element 3: “How will I pay for it?” An objective, financial justification will be made.  The only question is whether the Seller has earned a “seat at the table” to participate in the Buyer’s calculations.

It’s not “the greatest sales pitch of the year”; but if you think about it, it might just be closer to how Buyers actually buy.

GAP

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