Today growth is difficult, technology is disruptive, and decision making has shifted from IT to Line of Business. Your NEW audience is on information overload: new tech, new sales, new solutions, new services, new promises–gaining and retaining their attention is tough. If you’ve got only one opportunity to clinch their interest, what are you willing to do to maximize your success?
Here are five investment questions you should be asking yourself to ensure you capture Lines of Business:
1. How are you creating urgency around your solution?
Time is our most precious resource, and yet it is the great equalizer: we all have the same 24 hours in a day! It’s important, however, to remember that the people you are trying to reach are also busy people. You need to ask yourself, “Why is it important for them to spend their time with me?” If you can’t answer that, your client shouldn’t be expected to answer it, either.
You MUST know in advance what problem they are trying to solve. Understand how much time, effort, resources, and money your client is losing by not having a solution to their problem. Most importantly, create the kind of urgency that indicates that you are both busy people: you can’t afford wasting time on indecision. Let them know that you are busy with other clients already enjoying your solution. Show them that you are not going to waste their time, as you don’t have time to waste either.
2. What is your “Googlability”?
Be prepared for a scenario where your potential customer is doing research on you and your product or service before you even get to your office. Over 80% of decision makers are doing this research ahead of a sales call or appointment and 2 out of 3 buyers are using Google to find businesses online. If you search for your organization right now, are you in the top five results? The top ten? Not even on the first page? If buyers can’t see you right away, chances are they won’t ever see you.
How do you prepare for this? Your first step is to ensure you have an online presence that includes a quality website with valuable and readable content. Next, think about where your customers already are. If they’re on LinkedIn or Twitter, your business should be, too. Creating a harmonious balance between your website and the right social sites can help extend your brand and give you a competitive advantage.
3. Where is your focus?
The saying goes that you don’t sell the razor, you sell the shave. Often, tech and products and services overlap and offer the same kind of features as their competitors. You must research, learn, and be aware of how your business is different. The marketplace is overrun with multiples of everything, and the client experience you have to offer should be your unique asset. Anyone can sell a widget…but how will using your widget be easier, faster, cheaper, more hospitable, more enjoyable than using all the other widgets? If you are acutely aware of the different and specialized experience your business can offer to its clients, focus on selling that: it’s the one thing that no one else has.
4. How will you talk the talk?
Do you speak Business? In how many dialects? Business, like just about every national language, has a variety of accents and dialects, all with their own unique buzzwords that people don’t understand unless they already speak the same language. Remember that your potential customers may not speak your language–they are hiring you because you are the subject matter expert in your field and your solution…not them. If they don’t understand your acronyms or buzzwords, why would they write you a check for a product about which they are confused?
Know this as well: the C-Suite may or may not be your point of contact anymore; you may also be speaking to Director or Manager-level employees as decision makers. Do you understand the difference in pain points for a C-level employee and their budget versus a Manager-level employee and their boots-on-the-ground daily grind? In order to effectively sell your solution to companies of all sizes and types, you must be able to converse easily with all levels of management.
5. How much time did you spend on your homework?
This should be a no-brainer for anyone in the sales field, but it’s unfortunately still common that salespeople come to meetings without understanding why they’re there (aside from wanting to make the sale.) You should have done your research on their company, the same way you expect them to do research on yours. You should understand their problem and the repercussions of that problem for their business, as well as how your solution can uniquely fix those issues. Even more importantly, you should be doing advance research on the person with whom you are meeting–find common ground with them. Remember that people buy from other people: know who this person is as a person and not a prospect, and that will shine through easily in your conversations.
An important note: prepare for your meeting in advance, and know things about the company before your potential client tells you, but do not interrupt them or correct them in your meeting with information you’ve researched. People enjoy talking about themselves and the work they are proud to do, so let them!