Selling Against the Megaphones and “Slick Pitch” Marketers
“Always two there are, no more, no less. A master and an apprentice.”
Designing a “Trusted Sales Advisor” Model in Your Company
“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
It is very frustrating when you know you’ve created a robust solution that can make your prospect more efficient and more effective, but he or she won’t stop long enough to hear you out. In a world of media overload, spam, robocalls and crazy schedules, how can you possibly compete with the huge megaphones and” slick pitch” marketers?
In the 1920s A.A. Milne gave us a hint at the answer. A prospect will realize all too well that they have pain before they focus on making it go away for good. Why? Because it is hard to think strategically when you are in pain! You are far too busy treating the symptoms to think about the underlying causes.
If you buy this line of thinking, then you can readily see why trying to get your prospect’s attention while she is “living the pain” bears little fruit. Emails remain unopened, your carefully designed landing pages have precious few landings and calls go to voicemail, never to be returned.
So, if you can’t get the prospects’ attention while they’re working, how do you get their attention when they will be open to your solutions? How about a Zen proverb to get us in the right frame of mind…
The simple answer is, when prospects are ready to seek solutions to alleviate pain, they will attempt to find you.
Before we get into how they’ll find you, let’s explore where they are and what state of mind they’re in when they begin the search. We have already established that it probably isn’t during work hours because there are way too many things going on. That leaves commuting, home and days off. In other words, opportunities for downtime and reflective thought.
Now, what is the question the prospect will be reflecting on? I suggest that it will not be “Where can I buy a whiz-bang new product to solve all my pain.” It will probably sound more like , “I have this specific pain, what are the best ways to fix it?” It is human nature to seek treatment before considering major surgery. Let’s apply some basic psychological principles…
I contend that the prospect will be searching for needs to fill the bottom three tiers of Maslow’s Hierarchy – Physiological, Safety and Belonging. Here are how these tiers manifest themselves in the prospect’s search:
- Physiological – Search for quick fixes to my pain.
- Safety – Search for quick fixes that don’t break the bank and don’t require a lot of effort.
- Belonging – Find other people that have this same pain that I can commiserate with.
Ask yourself, am I selling at the top of the hierarchy while my prospects are looking at the bottom?
If your product involves consulting, massive cultural shifts, a large financial investment or a complex installation, then you must become a trusted advisor before your prospect will buy what you are selling. You can’t just be a trusted advisor, you earn it by fulfilling the physiological, safety and belonging needs of your prospect first. Once that trust is established, you can partner with your prospect to introduce your product into the organization.
Here’s what a Trusted Advisor Sales Model looks like:
The Trusted Advisor Sales Model
Are these practices and processes in place to help you sell smarter and become a “market of one” in the face of competitors with bigger platforms and deeper pockets? It might be time to start. But like many of your prospects, the strategic underpinnings of your approach might contain some causal factors that are out of sight, but holding you back nonetheless. Reach out for a conversation if this is a capability you’re exploring— and thanks for reading!