Can you clearly describe what your company does in 30 seconds to someone who doesn’t know your industry?
Are you able to clearly communicate to a potential customer what the benefits are of working with you and your company in under 60 seconds?
If you can’t answer “Yes” to both of these questions then you have a big problem. You can have all the well-meaning ‘mission statements’ or ‘vision statements’ you’ll ever want but if you’re not able to clearly communicate who you are and what you do, then you’re going to have a tough time achieving your sales goals for your company. The best salespeople I know take the complicated and make it simple.
Let’s look at this more closely:
- Keep it Simple
- Less PowerPoint Slides
- It’s Sales, not Surgery
Keep it Simple
Many companies spend tens of thousands of dollars having focus groups and consultants crafting mission and vision statements. I certainly understand why they feel the need to do this…but what do these statements mean? Let’s allow for the fact that these types of things aren’t going away any time soon. What the great salespeople do, though, is think about how they can understand what their company is trying to say through those statements but put the sentiments in a clear and simple message for their existing and prospective customers.
Great salespeople think of themselves as “editors” of their company’s communications. Like a newspaper editor, these sales stars read the copy, then condense and simply for better comprehension. What that means is the ability to distill down corporate aspirations into an understandable and persuasive message to customers.
Less PowerPoint Slides
How many times have you received a presentation deck from your marketing department that is over 60 slides long? If your company doesn’t have a marketing department, think about the decks that you may have created, or helped create, that have about 60 slides? Now, at the same time, think about how long you would normally have to give a presentation to an existing or potential customer? In my experience, if you get an hour to meet and present, you’re doing great.
So, if you’ve got an hour to present a 60-slide deck, how do you think that will sound and be received by your customer? The point I’m making is that the great salespeople radically reduce the number of slides they will use in a presentation for an hour meeting. Even 30 slides are too many…after greetings and introductions at the meeting’s start, you’re looking at less than 90 seconds per slide…without any questions from your customers. And, you definitely want questions from your customers so that you know that they are engaged with what you’re presenting. While there is no set ‘rule-of-thumb’ as to a number of slides, I’d target 1/3 the number of slides based on the number of minutes you have for a meeting…so, 60-minute meeting equals 20 slides.
If this seems impossible to do, then you need to go back to what we discussed at the beginning of this column…editing down for clearer messaging to your customers.
It’s Sales, not Surgery
I believe it is very important to take one’s job seriously though not necessarily themselves too seriously. And, achieving revenue goals are important both to the individual salesperson, as income, and also to their company in terms of revenue budgets. When looking at the bigger picture, though, it’s ‘selling something’ and not saving lives in an operating room. I’ve seen even the best salespeople become overstressed about the complexity of their jobs and careers to the point of exhaustion and burnout. I don’t believe that is productive from a mental or physical standpoint for that salesperson. There are better ways to sell…simplify the complicated messaging.
Think about simplifying your sales pitch in the way you communicate to your customers…make it easier for them to understand your message. Your customers are inundated with sales emails, meetings, and presentations every day. Make your communication stand out from the crowd by simplifying your message and helping your customers to better understand your story. This will enable customers to engage more effectively to a simpler message and their retention of that message will improve. Your story and message needs to rise above all the clutter that your customers deal with on a daily basis. Your job, as a sales pro, is to make it easier for your customers to understand your story and engage in the sales process with you.