First, Start with a Point of View

 

You really never do get a second chance to make a first impression yet I hear so many sellers stumble out of the gate with questions such as: What keeps you up at night? As discussed in an earlier blog about peer 2 peer selling, a peer is seen as an equal with similar acumen and experience. A conversation with a peer is not a series of open ended questions but rather one with purpose and a path.  Successful first calls are executed by following a model that begins with what we call a “point of view” and follows a six step process.

 POV 

 The point of view statement is an observation about the prospect’s industry or business followed up with a closed-ended question. As an example – I will use our own sales tool kit with a fictional VP of Sale:

“I read that your company is expanding your product offering to include a software as a service platform. We have seen that companies usually have a 6 month lag in revenue with this type of change because it takes marketing and sales that long to get on the same page with sales ready messaging. Is that something you have factored in?”

1. This starts the conversation on a path that will help us gather specific information. The prospect will either answer the question yes or no.

To prepare provocative point of view statements for a first call, I recommend InsideView. This tool can be embedded inside of your CRM on the account level to give everything available about the company, from the blogosphere, LinkedIn, Jigsaw, Facebook, and in Twitter. InsideView is offering a free version right now that is well worth the time invested. 

2. We want to understand the impact that a 6 month lag will have on the individual and their organization. We simply ask the question, “What impact will that have on your company?”

3. We want to confirm that impact in terms of metrics. If we are going down the right path –there will be a tangible repercussion. We will want to ask, “Just so I heard you correctly – a 6 month lag in revenue for this product line will mean $15,000,000 in lost revenue?” We would want to add some clarification as well to address a date by which this problem must be solved. “When is the product due to go-live?”

4. We want to create a mutual vision to address this pain. It is very important to align with their vision. We want to collaborate with them by asking, “What are your plans on getting sales and marketing aligned before product release.” We then follow up by sharing how we have helped similar organizations in similar circumstances.

5. Our next step is to offer a method of proof. Most complex sales will require some deeper discovery with individuals in the company. We want to get sponsorship of this discovery step but not without giving a “high-level” overview of what we are trying to achieve. “Our Sales Tool Kit will provide sales ready messaging at the time of product release to avoid the 6 month revenue lag”

6. We ask then for the prospect’s sponsorship on a deeper discovery and a time to demonstrate our proof of concept. “As a next step, you will introduce me to your VP of Marketing and Sales Operations department to tailor a proof of concept demonstration of the Sales Tool Kit. We can have something prepared for you by month end. Can we schedule a time for our next meeting then? ”

A Sales Tool Kit to Help with your Point of View

Selling like a peer means thoroughly researching all of your potential stakeholders to be well versed in their position and the challenges they face.  Successful companies take this research and put it into a sales tool kit for consistency throughout the entire sales force. It is vitally important to have a central repository available of best practices in messaging, competitive positioning, objection handling, and probing questions to prepare for a first call. Kadient offers a fully integrated content management tool with most CRM’s including Salesforce.com where the tool kit’s content should be housed.

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One Response

  1. […] Now one thing is sure – even with this process senior level sale people will be resistant. That is where a firm like Frontline Selling can help by setting the appointments for you. No matter how you segment the process, handling that first call is always tricky. I recommend reading this earlier post that will help you first, start with a point of view. […]

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