It’s tough to engage prospects in conversations, and even tougher to convince them they need what we’re selling.
Yet there are salespeople who seem to have long conversations with every prospect they speak with, and who drive meetings and sales faster than anyone else.
After listening to the results of more than 30,000 sales calls, we discovered that the very best salespeople position themselves not as salespeople, but as solution providers. They show up with solutions to problems and ideas to help their prospects reach goals faster.
So how do we develop solutions like that for ourselves, without having to spend decades in a single industry? To learn the answer, we sat down with Michael Butler, CEO of Beyond Publishing. He showed us the same sales system he advises his business authors use as they’re gathering challenges and solutions for their industries.
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 determine when to begin capturing the keywords and phrases that you can gather to begin creating solutions for your prospects and customers, Michael recommends starting with listing out the things you should be listening for. These may be ‘challenges’, ‘problems’, ‘changes’, ‘updates’ or ‘regulations.’ The specifics of each of those keywords are the things you should be listening for in your conversations.
You’ll quickly see a pattern emerge as you speak to multiple prospects with the same job titles or folks across similar industries.
R – Repeatable: First, record what you hear outside your head. That may mean capturing the specific examples of challenges or shared goals you hear in a word document or on a spreadsheet. This will be extremely valuable in tracking trends and allow you to open future calls with statements like, “We’ve spoken to over a dozen vice presidents in your industry, and we’ve found they’re all challenged with this … does that resonate with your role, as well?”
Next, you’ll want to survey your own sales, marketing, and delivery team for any stories they may have of ways that current and former customers overcame those challenges with what you sell or reached their goals faster because of your product or service. Those stories should be archived alongside the examples you’re hearing in your word document or spreadsheet so that you can reference back to them on future sales calls.
Finally, track the prospect name you’re speaking to when you hear a challenge or a goal, so that when you craft a solution, find an example of success, or connect with a resource, you’ll be able to generate another conversation with that prospect by offering them a solution as quickly as possible.
To deliver the solutions, Michael recommends video as your primary vehicle. Film a 3-minute video of you explaining the solution you’ve developed to each of the major challenges you’re hearing to have on hand to send to prospects and to post on your website.
I – Improvable: To improve the way you’re gathering prospect challenges and gathering resources to address them, Michael says to develop an archive of your solutions so that you can find them easily, add new ones when appropriate, and update old ones when technology, your industry, and your product and service change.
That could look like a spreadsheet with hyperlinks to your resources, or a page on your website where all your solutions are archived.
M – Measurable: Measuring the effectiveness of your solutions, Michael says to track how many appointments with you are booked after someone engages with the resources you’ve created, as that will tell you in real-time how effective they are at establishing trust, providing solutions and positioning you as a solution provider instead of just another salesperson.
Michael is offering all of Bulletproof Selling’s followers an 8-module course on how to map, lay out and write your book to establish yourself as an expert in your industry. To access it, go to credibilitybook.live, and use the code ‘beyond’.