When you buy a gift for a loved one, you want to make their eyes shine with pleasure.
So here’s the question; do you go out and buy something amazing but generic, something everyone should love? Or do you think very carefully about that individual for a long time, about their passions, desires, problems, dreams… then go out and choose something deeply personal to them?
We all know the best gifts are as personal – as targeted – as possible. That’s how you give a gift of genuine value to the receiver. Something they’ll treasure and thank you for.
Is it any different in sales?
To stand out and establish a true competitive advantage you must offer value that makes the eyes of your prospect shine with pleasure. The very easiest way to deliver real value is to first discover, study and target your ideal prospect. Then forget about the rest.
Target, focus and deliver.
Disciplined customer selection is not always easy. But the rewards are immense.
It’s the surest way to supercharge your ROI on sales, cutting down time and marketing cost per sale, boosting your profits. It gives your salespeople clarity of purpose, laser-like focus on execution, and an uncluttered vision of implementation strategies and tactics. Plus a tight framework within which to creatively uncover your competitive advantage and express it to your prospect in words that connect and refresh them like cool water on a hot day.
A single salesperson is ten times more effective addressing a market armed with a well-aimed rifle and a crystal clear target, than an army of marketing folks wielding shotguns. The vague, costly and inefficient ‘spray and pray’ tactic I see too often is what kills companies.
Make sure you’re not among them.
Here are six simple steps to turn your sales people into hyper-efficient, effective snipers, or (if you prefer the friendlier metaphor) the world’s best gift-givers.
1. Develop an obsession with value
Superior sales professionals always view themselves as proprietors of their own business. They care deeply about the measurement of the value they deliver to their employers, their customers and themselves.
This value-driven mindset must come first. Everything else evolves out of there.
2. Pinpoint and study your ideal customer
Create and understand the profile of your ideal prospective customer. Be brave, cut away the ‘ok’ and ‘good’ prospects. Focus on the excellent ones. You know, the 20% who give you 80% of your business, who convert 80% more easily.
The ones who love what you have to offer.
Always go deeper than just the ideal company, down to the individual. Ask, who is the real buyer in the target customer organization? What are their own personal pain-points, problems and peeves relating to your offering?
3. Find the ‘Sweet Spot’
Here’s where it starts getting powerful.
Every sales or marketing activity should begin with one question. It’s not ‘what’s our return on investment, or ROI?’ or ‘what can we sell to this market segment?’ Instead, ask yourself this;
‘What’s the ‘Sweet Spot’? Where does our offering mesh so smoothly with the customer’s business requirement that he would be foolish not to consider purchasing our product, in preference to anything else?’
If your answer to that question doesn’t direct you to a sufficiently profitable market segment, then you’ve got a problem with your offering, which needs to be addressed. But if you can hit this sweet spot, then you have a gift that’ll make their eyes shine.
You have your competitive advantage. Here are five questions to help you find it:
- What is our target’s biggest problem, which they cannot yet solve? What keeps them up at night?
- What is the impact of our solution on our buyer and their company?
- What are the ranked criteria for buying our solution that the prospect has, based on their perception of our offering?
- How does or how can our solution solve the prospect’s problem in a way the competition cannot? What’s our ‘special sauce’?
- How can we be 100% sure that the customer cares enough about our ‘special sauce’ to pay more and stay with us long term?
4. Express the benefits clearly
Customer’s care about a product’s benefits, not its features. You should too.
Don’t tell them what it does. Tell them how their business and personal lives will be improved because of what it does.
People measure value in terms of the positive impact to their lives, and the life of their business. The power of a well-crafted value proposition is how clearly it paints the picture of how much better their life will be – in a way that cannot be achieved with any other of their perceived solutions.
5. Say it using their words
You’ve got your ideal customer, you’ve got your perfect ‘Sweet Spot’ solution. You’re expressing the benefits. Make sure they are hearing your words.
Tell your customers about your offering in words they use every day. Use the words they use to describe their problems within their company. Enter the conversation they are already having in their own mind – use the words they think in.
6. Be measurable, not ambient
You can think about expressing benefits and value in ‘measurable’ or ‘ambient’ terms.
Measurable is clearer and far stronger. ‘Reduce labour costs by 30%’ or ‘Halve your setup costs’ are measurable. Ambient value is harder to express and to sell. ‘Improve reputation’ or ‘Build stronger team morale’ are ambient.
Don’t make the common mistake of expressing measurable value in ambient terms. Instead of saying ‘Increase productivity’ you can quantify it and double its impact. Always be measurable.
The dynamic, rapidly evolving markets of today create constant flux in almost every sector. Customers are sophisticated and know they have choice. It’s a real Darwinian jungle out there, where only the fittest survive.
Make sure you’re giving your salespeople the tools, skills and mindsets to survive and thrive in this jungle. So they can be the successful hunters. The truly appreciated gift-givers.
How to do it? A rock-solid competitive advantage through disciplined customer selection, highly targeted value-creation and clarity of message. Nothing beats it.
Got any laser-like sales tips of your own? Share your wisdom in the comment section below.