Not long ago I was coaching a young salesman and we made a joint call on strong prospect. He did a good job starting the call, asking great questions and listening. Then, he told a story that so mirrored what this new prospect was looking for I just sat in awe. Finally, as my young salesman wrapped up the short story, he mentioned the subject of the story was a competitor of this prospect. We got a verbal commitment before we departed that resulted in a six figure order.
Have a Story
That young salesman re-confirmed my belief that most people like stories. Albeit shorter is better, but they like stories. When talking to a prospect, the best way to demonstrate your knowledge of product, service, industry and his business is tell a relevant story. According to recent studies, executive buyers report only two out of ten salespeople have case studies or stories to support their presentations. Prospects want to know someone else has been successful using your product or service. It’s the “been there, done that“ reference.
No doubt, somewhere in your company archives you can find an interesting and relevant story to tell about a customer who experienced great success because they placed faith in you and your product. Why not share it on your next presentation, or initial meeting?
If you are new in your sales position, talk to the veterans in your company. Believe me, they like nothing more than telling you about their successes. Take notes and use those stories until you have your own.
Sometimes that slick 10 page case study of which your marketing people are so proud, is just a bit much. Everyone is busy these days. Condense that case study into a one minute story. Leave the fancy case study with your prospect too, but TELL the story with some excitement. A good story about a similar customer, or competitor, lends a great deal of credibility to you and your company.
When you have an experience like that of my young salesman in the opening story, communicate with other salespeople that you just landed a big order. His teammates couldn’t wait to quiz him on his success. With that data the others could find similar prospects from their databases and sources like LinkedIn.
Sales quote: “Reasons come first. Answers come second”