By Andrea Sittig-Rolf
The evolution of social media and Internet-based product research, combined with a 24–hour news cycle and 24/7 access to information of any kind through PCs, tablets and cellphones, has created a sort of “Infomania”; the compulsion to accumulate information through technology. (The term was coined in 1982 by Elizabeth Ferrarini who wrote “Confessions of an Infomaniac.”) Also known as “digital hoarding”, this trend has made it difficult for salespeople to break through the noise and get noticed.
While it used to be sufficient to discuss the benefits of a product or service with a potential customer, that is no longer enough to close the sale. Now it’s necessary to quantify results or prove the outcomes of your products and services, just to have the chance to compete.
The best way to prove the positive outcomes of your products and services is to tell the story of a customer in the same industry as your prospect who had a good experience and tangible results based on the product or solution you provided. The idea behind this is as simple as “We’ve provided great results for other customers, so it’s reasonable to conclude we can provide great results for you too.”
Because we’re dealing with buyers in an age of short attention spans and you have very little time to get their attention, you want to tell your story quickly and get to the point by starting with the result you’ve created — for example “by providing mobile, virtual, and secure meeting rooms, ABC Customer has reduced its travel expenses by 47 percent while still empowering executives to effectively communicate, virtually, face-to-face”. A result like this will get the prospect’s attention so that you will have the chance to tell the rest of the story.
Next, start from the beginning by talking about ABC Customer’s business challenge; in other words, the reason they came to you in the first place to help them solve their problem. The challenge might sound something like this: ABC Customer has executives located in many locations across the country who need to meet on a regular basis. Travel has become costly and time consuming, yet the visual contact is an important factor in conducting their meetings.
Then, talk about the solution you provided such as, “We provided a virtual meeting room solution to allow ABC Customer executives to meet on a regular basis, from the comfort and convenience of each executive’s own office, while still allowing the visual contact necessary for viewing of the other executives and sharing important documents and other visual aids.”
Next, restate the result your solution provided as shown above, and finish by sharing a testimonial from ABC Customer confirming the result you say you provided.
It’s important to quantify the results by referring to specifics, such as the 47 percent reduction in travel costs shown in this case study example. It’s also a good idea for you to write the case study yourself rather than for your customer to write it for you for a couple of reasons. First, it makes it easy for your customer to simply review and approve what you’ve written, rather than taking the time to write the case-study themselves, which means you’ll have it faster. Second, by writing your own case study, you are in control of the message you want to convey; and you can speak specifically to the points you want to get across to your prospect. You can even write the testimonial yourself, as long as you get permission from the customer to use it.
Regardless of the size of your company or your marketing budget, you can leverage the outcomes you’ve created for current customers to attract and close new customers. And after all, that’s what it’s all about, right?
Andrea Sittig-Rolf is an author, speaker and business-growth expert, as well as Chief BlitzMaster and CEO of BlitzMasters, a sales training and pipeline development company that empowers salespeople to fill their pipelines with new opportunities in a single day.