Sales gets a bad rap, and all because salespeople misunderstand their role.
Too many of us think that our job is to sell, instead of to serve. We’re seeing things from our perspective, and when things change in our prospect’s world, we’re a step behind the curve.
So how do we learn what changes they’re facing and paint the picture of how what we’re selling can help them deal with those changes?To learn the answer to that question, we sat down with David Kurkjian, the founder of Master Messaging. He showed us a simple agenda we can use before, during and after every sales call to ensure we’re connecting with prospects, providing valuable insights, and serving their goals, not just ours.
Since we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it, and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: To trigger this system, David recommends starting before we pick up the phone or step into a meeting. We need to understand the potential challenges this person likely has on their plate, let them know we understand their world.
By researching enough about them, their company, and their industry to be able to understand what’s standing in the way of their goals, we’ll then be able position our product or service as a way to remove those challenges.
Only when this trigger is complete are we ready to step into the meeting with a service-focused agenda.
R – Repeatable: First, David recommends being able to share what others like the prospect you’re on the phone or in a meeting with are also struggling with, so you can let this prospect know you understand their world.
Only when we’ve established we know about them will they be interested to know about us – but it’s still too early to begin ‘spraying and praying’.
Second, David says to understand how those challenges specifically look in this prospect’s world. Ask: What things they’ve tried to solve that problem in the past? Were they external resources, internal ones, or a mixture of both? What results did they get?
Third, learn what the impact to this prospect and their organization will be if they can’t solve those challenges?
Only when we’ve shown them we understand their world and the challenges we face have we earned the right to learn the things most salespeople ask right out of the gate, such as specifics about their company size, goals, or any other typical qualification questions you’d ask. These questions are best phrased as, ‘Imagine if you could …’, or ‘what if you could …’ while filling in the improved state to complete the question.
While most salespeople load this next part of the call into the first few seconds, only now are you ready to paint a picture of how your product or service helps achieve that improved state.
Fifth, ask the prospect to define what life would look like if the challenges you’ve shared were solved across an organization with those specific criteria (company size, growth goals, etc.).
At this point in the call, you’ve shown the prospect you understand their world, you’ve clarified how their challenges are impacting them, what an improved state would mean for them, and now you’re ready to ask for the next step. It’s here that you’ll learn if the prospect has any objections, so be prepared to deal with the most common ones ahead of time. They may also ask clarifying questions if there was a point they were unsure about.
I – Improvable: To improve this system, David recommends paying attention to what prospects say when you ask the question, ‘What does this look like in your world?’ As you hear new challenges, make sure to catalog them and find out if they’re worth adding to your call agenda.
M – Measurable: To measure the effectiveness of this system, David says to look at conversion rates from one stage of your sale to the next, and measure whether you are using the above agenda in your process. By using an agenda that’s prospect-focused, they’ll know you’re there to serve and not just to sell.