Are You Losing Sales By Overloading Your Prospects? Try This Approach Instead…
Remember those floppy disks we used in computers before the Internet and CD Roms? I know I’m dating myself, but growing up in the 80s and 90s, we had to bring those disks to school for computer class! Like most game-loving kids, I used them to copy video games from my friends’ computers.
I know that’s frowned upon by the US government… but I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations has run out on my illicit video game bootlegging career.
But I digress.
The thing was—and this is still true with modern disks today—if you tried to copy over a file that was larger than the disc could hold, the file simply wouldn’t transfer. Not the first part. Not the best part. None of it. It was all or nothing.
How does this relate to sales and marketing?
It might seem counter-intuitive, but our minds work the same way. We like to think we’re able to recall the most important details of a conversation or that we’ll remember everyone’s names from a party. But, I’m sure we can all relate to seeing someone a week after meeting them and realizing we have no idea what their name is or what we even talked about.
This is exaggerated at crowded events like parties or conferences because of the high number of interactions we have.
Our prospects experience the same thing when they’re actively shopping for a new vendor and pick up the phone to call three of five providers.
We may be walking around with a 1TB hard drive in our minds filled with all the reasons a prospect should do business with us. I mean, it’s pretty natural right? We’ve built a company or are selling a product we love, it’s our job to evangelize all the great things we do differently and better than the competition.
But our prospects may only have a floppy disk worth of space to store all the information we want to share. And why wouldn’t they? Our product or service is probably one of 15 problems problems they have to solve this month or quarter.
So here they are, with maybe 1.4MB of space, and we’re trying to download a 1TB program. No wonder we lose prospects on those first calls!
What should we do?
We need a program that perfectly fits the mental storage space that prospects show up with.
That’s where positioning comes in.
If you knew a prospect was only going to remember one thing about your product or service a week after your first meeting, what would you want it to be? And just in case I wasn’t clear, that’s all they’re likely to remember. Why not be intentional about it?
I think this is important for all businesses, but I’ve found it particularly powerful for companies who are in a highly competitive industry. In other words, it’s typical for buyers to call multiple vendors and review 3 – 5 options before making a decision.
In these situations, buyers want to quickly eliminate possibilities before spending too much time combing through details or setting up time-consuming interviews. Some buyers will simply make a “good enough” decision if a vendor seems to be the ideal solution for their company.
Your positioning is what the buyer will use to make these critical, up-front decisions.
Be an Orange in a Sea of Apples
I like to tell my clients to be an orange in a sea of apples. Rather than trying to win over a prospect based on one or two features or pricing points, why not make it impossible for them NOT to hire you.
Your positioning can reshape their buying criteria in a way that makes you the obvious choice.
A prospect may come into a conversation thinking their decision should be based on some variable like “speed of delivery.” But when they leave your conversation understanding that success is all about renewal rates, you look way more valuable than the competition.
Let me give you an example of how some of my clients are doing this.
Here at Juicy Results, we’ve worked with a number of residential property managers all over the US. These are the firms you hire to manage your rental properties. You might think all property managers would use the same sales script and process, but that’s not true when you consider that each of them has their own positioning.
We have a client in Utah who is The Most Transparent Property Manager, another in Texas who is The Investors Choice for Professional Property Management, and a third in California who has The Most 5 Star Yelp Reviews.
Your positioning should be something that your competitors either can’t or won’t claim as their own. Something you can burn permanently onto their little mental floppy disc. To make it stick, you need to make sure your positioning is firmly installed before they leave.
Let’s talk about how you can do that in the first interaction.
Back to our example. If you were The Most Transparent Property Manager in Utah—a meaningful benefit to a prospect who is trusting you with investment properties—then you would want to make sure that radical transparency is a cornerstone of your branding. Every time a prospect sees, hears or interacts with your brand, you want that message reinforced.
Perhaps you would answer the phone like this:
Hello! This is Jeremy with Boardwalk Realty & Management, the most transparent property manager in Utah. How can I help you today?
When pressed to explain how your services differ from the competition, you might reply with:
Boardwalk Realty & Management was created to give property owners the best home rental experiences possible. We believe transparency is the key to a keeping our customers happy and we’ve been doing that for over ten years.
Then you might list all the material business practices you’ve installed that deliver a radically transparent experience for the customer.
You might even ask the prospect to rate, on a scale of 1 – 10, how important transparency is to them when choosing a property management company. I mean, what would you say to a salesperson who asked you that? Would you tell them you’d prefer a vendor who likes to keep all decisions and financial reporting about your investment to themselves?! Of course not… but no one else in their market owns this position—only they do.
Being The Most Transparent Property Manager in Utah makes our client an orange in a sea of apples. Potential buyers will have a hard time ignoring them when choosing a property management company.
That’s the power of positioning. It creates more effective and successful sales conversations right from the get-go.
So, what’s your company’s position in the marketplace? How are you using it to strengthen your sales language?
As you think of ways you can make your competitors look like a sea of apples, here are a few things to consider about a great positioning statement.
1) Be Materially Different
Avoid overused arguments like “better quality” or “customer service”.
2) Be Meaningful to Your Prospect
Why should they care? Why will your products or services make their life better?
3) Offer Something Tangible
While I recommend to avoid competing based on “customer service,” check out how Rackspace successfully breaks this rule by promoting their “fanatical customer service.” They offer a 15-minute response time guarantee and give out straight jackets as awards for employees who go above and beyond to support their customers.
4) Be Authentic
Does your company live and breathe your positioning statement?
5) Be Memorable
When planning a cruise and someone suggests “the fun ship”, who do you think of? Carnival Cruise Line’s positioning is so entrenched that their Wikipedia page comes up as a recommendation when you google “the fun ship”. Strive to be like Carnival.
We’ve seen companies restate their positioning four, five, even seven times on a single introductory phone call. If it’s interesting and relevant to the prospect, it’s a game changer.
Imagine how your prospects will feel when they finally hear your unique positioning statement after calling 3 of your competitors who all sounded exactly the same.
They’ll be so glad they found you.
So, what are you waiting for?!