Learn how to differentiate yourself at each stage while maintaining integrity with your organization's requirements. Lisa and Elizabeth share how to break up this common dilemma into the three stages: prospecting, discover, and proposal.
- You might be wondering, "How do I differentiate my "sales process when my organization tracks my every move." Well, you can follow a sales process and still be creative. If you're like most sales people, your process probably falls into three main buckets. Prospecting, discovery, and the proposal stage. Now each of these stages provides a great opportunity for differentiation. Let's look at prospecting. In the early stages of the customer relationship, you want to leverage your business acumen and your presence to get the potential buyer involved in a strategic conversation, so early on, when most reps are asking about product fit, you want to focus on value.
You know, if the first words out of your mouth are, "My name is John, how many widgets do you buy a year," you're not going to be very differentiated. So, instead ask about how widgets affect their strategy. You'll have a much better conversation. Because no matter how great it is, when you focus on your product or service too early, it sets you up for a transactional relationship. When you focus on larger issues, it enables you to flow into the second phase, discovery.
That's when a lot of reps tend to ask questions like, "What's your budget, or how many users "would you have on this account?" You need to ask those questions, but ask them later in the process. Another technique that very non differentiated reps use is they take manipulative statements and they frame them up as if they're questions. You've heard these before, things like, "Don't you agree, "doing nothing will hurt your business." You can do better than that. Instead, ask real questions like, "What impact is lack "of blank having on your business?" Or, "You mention your goal is to generate greater interest "from the market, what will that do for you?" Asking instead of telling enables the customer to build the value case for you.
And then once you've built the value together, you can move into the proposal phase. Now this is where sales people are most at-risk for losing any differentiation they may have gained in the previous process, and that's because in most cases, proposals and pitches tend to be very generic. This is a huge problem. Now you might have some type of plug and play proposal format or standard deck.
And if your organization has rules about what you can and can't do, you need to follow those rules, but do everything you can to differentiate these templates, especially on the front end. Add in a slide or a page that summarizes the customer's goals and the very specific value they'll get from your solution, or use bullet points describing the impact you'll have on each department. Use their names in your proposal.
If you don't have the authority to modify your materials, modify your language. Before you start your pitch, you can say something like, "You know, you told me your objective is to expand "your customer base. "Here's how our solution will help you do that." If you've done your job in the prospecting and discovery phase, the proposal phase should be easily customized to your customer's objectives. Now, having a differentiated sales process doesn't mean that you need to make your own elaborate deck, or you need to hand write your proposals in fancy calligraphy.
It just just means you don't want to create an anonymous plug and play experience for your customer. So, here's a good way to assess your differentiation. Look at each phase of your process and ask yourself, "How would my competitor do it?" If your questions and your deck are the same as theirs, then you have some work to do.
- How can you differentiate your organization?
- Setting yourself apart
- Differentiating your language
- Adding value before collecting revenue
- Differentiating during the sales process
- Unpacking the buyer's journey
- Differentiating in the first meeting
- Talking about the competition
- Customizing your deck
- Differentiating your written proposal
- Asking for the business
- Differentiating inside your organization