Are you frustrated about why no one seems to “get” just what it is that you can do for them? You tell them your job title, or your degree, or you describe your skill sets. Perhaps you pepper your conversation with details about your products, services, platforms, solutions. You pitch to them. You sell at them. You demo for them.
And then you stop. Short.
You leave it up to them to connect the dots. You leave it up to them to figure out how they can use just exactly what it is that you offer them.
Why would you leave it up to them to figure YOU out?
They have better things to do with their time. Higher priorities.
Unless, that is, you have taken the time to do your homework before you spoke with them. Unless, that is, you have taken the time to figure out what the dots-to-be-connected look like in their organization.
The most frustrating part about the sales process, or even the entrepreneurial process, is that the person doing the selling or pitching assumes that the individual doing the listening will immediately understand what it is that you do and how important what you do is for their organization.
News flash: you need to connect the dots for your potential customers and investors. They are too overwhelmed with their day to day responsibilities to assume responsibility for connecting your dots with theirs.
The most frustrating part about the sales process is that, in spite of everything you have been told to say to prospective customers or investors, in reality they simply don’t react the way they are supposed to. They are busy, they get interrupted, they cut the meeting off short, they are triple booked.
They don’t have time to listen to what you have to say in its entirety. So what to do?
Here are 4 Tips to kick things off.
- Start your business development conversation with a relevant statement that shows you have done your homework and understand their industry. Make this conversation memorable. It will differentiate you from the other folks who are presenting and pitching and demo-ing, assuming that just because someone is speaking with you means they are in a buying mode. Chances are, they aren’t.
- Be prepared for logical breaks in your dialogue. The key word here is “dialogue.” Come up for air and give them a chance to respond, speak, ask questions. Otherwise, you are just showing up and throwing up and sales spieling, just like everyone else. If you don’t act like a commodity, you won’t be perceived as one.
- Your object is to create a compelling reason for them to continue the conversation with you. Perhaps another time. Perhaps apropos to a specific business case they relate to you. You are gathering information about them, just as they are about you. Create a relevant, memorable experience because you have done your homework (Tip #1) and anticipated they initially may not be able to devote all their time and attention to you (Tip #2).
- Root causes have really large contexts. By engaging customers and investors in provocative conversations, you will uncover and discover more about the context of their needs than if you rush in with whatever scripted sales spiel you’ve been mandated to deliver.
After all, you are the person engaged with the customer. It’s reality, not fantasy.
It’s your common sense, combined with the background research you continue to do about their industry and their company.
Connect the dots. Make your time with prospects and investors pay off. For YOU as well as them.
Babette Ten Haken provides technical people and other sellers a solid strategy for how to explain a product, its benefits, and its value in ways that buyers can easily understand and sellers can comfortably present. She gets people together who are often on opposite sides of the table, like engineers and sales people or entrepreneurs and investors. Her company, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, works with entrepreneurs, start-ups & investors, as well as small businesses and manufacturers, focusing on revenue-generating and portfolio-building business development strategies. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? was named 2012 Finalist, Top Sales & Marketing Awards.