If you’re ever engaged in a conversation with a prospect and they say the words “yes, this is exactly what I am looking for” you’re probably thinking about how quickly you can get the proposal over to them for signoff.
But the reality is the conversation will often end up at nothing but a conversation – your prospect doesn’t respond to your emails and voicemails, it’s as if they’re ignoring you completely.
Nothing as far as your prospect is concerned. But for you, you’ve probably lost the business and here’s why.
You didn’t differentiate yourself from your competitor and invariably it came down to a matter of cost and/or terms (assuming the prospect moved forward).
Consider just how the conversation may have gone down. The prospect hears information from you (your pitch/presentation) that they may have heard from a competitor – you’re both pitching your business and have a “pick me” air to your conversation. After all, we’re meant to differentiate ourselves from our competitors, but when you’re selling the same thing then how really are you going to be any different than your competitor? That’s where the “cheapest bidder” usually wins the business.
But then you do something different. Instead of the “me, too” and the “here’s how you use this product” or “we can get you on page 1 of Google”, you show your prospect something completely from left field – you show them something that they hadn’t ever considered before. Now you’re different. Now you’re separating yourself from your competitors.
You really need to know your prospect’s business as well or better than they do. No, I’m not asking you to be a qualified mechanic, or board certified chiropractor! I’m simply asking you to think about ways you can help the prospect that they would never have thought of before.
Here’s an example: a software company provides free trials of their super duper lead generation software. Once a month they run a live webinar where they walk the viewers through the benefits of their software and have them register at the end of the webinar to try out the software.
Turning this upside down – educate the software company about the idea of running automated webinars. Show them that automated webinars can be run every day and it only ever needs to be recorded one time. Now they can promote their webinar continuously and reward themselves with a steady stream of new trial signups.
Of course, you won’t actually need to tell them that. The prospect will immediately be able to see this value and what it might mean to their bottom line. Congratulations, you’ve just created your first story and allowed the prospect to choose their own outcome. You’ve successfully imprinted a thought pattern inside your prospect that no one else has done – that’s because you didn’t follow the typical sales pitch pattern.
Be different from your competition, but don’t make price the main differentiator.
Provide the prospect with something that could change their beliefs about how they do something or how they understand something – they’ll understand your position and will invariably be able to figure out (pretty quickly) how it will affect their bottom line.
How can you present your product or service in a way that will have your prospect looking at their business from a completely different perspective?