What gives you the right to call on this prospect?

In my newsletter this week I shared a story about Albert Einstein and his method for counting the numbers from one to one hundred.  Two of my subscribers wrote to tell me it was Friedrich Gauss, the great mathematician who discovered the methodology first, and they are correct.  Gauss, when given the problem, solved it by stating he saw 101 fifty times, as he added 100 to one, 99 to two and so on, whereas Einstein added 100 to zero and so on.  It was Gauss who also developed the formula for calculating the sum of the digits (1 + N)*(N/2). I also wrote in the newsletter that the Einstein story may be apocryphal.  One of the two wrote back and said, “I’m a mathematician. You can’t expect me to know what ‘apocryphal’ means!”

(Incidentally, all of you who are bankers know that the sum of the digits from 1-12 equals 78, because that’s how interest is often calculated on one year installment loans, i.e., the borrower pays 12/78’s of the interest in the first month, 11/78’s in the second month and so on.)

Gregory at Medtronic 10-2010 CroppedSo now let’s turn our attention to these boring and useless value propositions we offer up when calling on a prospect. I cited the very common “All the services of a big company, with local community delivery,”  “Large enough to serve you, small enough to care for you,” and so on.

Please get your people to stop doing this.  These are not personal, resonating benefits and won’t engage or interest the prospect in the slightest way.  How would you feel if someone called on you and used one of those phrases?  They sound like radio ads for small banks.

Instead, encourage your team to develop two value propositions: one being something about your company that has to do with what you learned about the prospect in your pre-call research and preparation.  Example:  “I see your company name everywhere in this community, from the Little League scoreboard you donated, to the service club scholarships you contribute to.  My company is like-minded in that we contribute over X dollars a year to local charitable activities here. I’d like to explore with you today what else we may have in common.”

Your second value proposition should be about you, and it should stand out.  Here are a few:  my style in the way I work with customers, perhaps with a story about it, my years of experience, my expertise in a specific area, my commitment to my customers, again with a quick success story.  These intros get prospects to listen to you.  They’re wondering what’s in it for them to talk with you, so you have to tell them directly.

“I’d like to share one important reason why I wanted to speak with you today, and that’s because my expertise and experience are primarily with manufacturers such as you, and my specialties in that area include helping you make the most efficient use of our services, and helping you manage cash through your business cycle.”

Dee Garcia, a friend of mine who heads up Business Banking training for a top ten bank, also likes the notion of “self-credentializing” throughout the call, so that you sprinkle these little facts about your competency throughout the entire conversation.  Example, “In my work with over 50 international companies during my career, I’ve learned that it’s important to hedge in these situations…”  As the prospect, while I’m considering the business advantages of hedging, I am also assured of your reliability.

Spend some time with your team developing stronger reasons for being there and get rid of all the clichés.  That’s how you…

Think Like Your Customer

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at www.actionsystemstraining.com.

2 Responses to What gives you the right to call on this prospect?

  1. luttrellg says:

    Great post on personalizing the customer experience. Tailoring the service to fit individualized customer needs is what will separate those who service averagely from those who service outstandingly.

    Hollow branding phrases mean very little. Developing more true purpose will spill over and fill up the hollow phrases with meaningful content. You drive the point home with,

    “Spend some time with your team developing stronger reasons for being there and get rid of all the clichés. ”

    Having ridiculously great reasons for being there is the first step towards providing a unique, beneficial service for the customer.

    Great post!

  2. Thank you Luttrellg. I like your “hollow branding phrases” comment. That’s just what they are.

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