Remember the last time you were at a conference, meetup or any other meeting with people from various different backgrounds and somebody asked you casually what it is that you do? When you started to answer, and maybe you didn’t even notice, but their face slowly started to drop as they became disinterested in you? If you can relate to this situation, the chances are high that you spoke about how great YOU, YOUR company and YOUR services are. YOU were full of enthusiasm to share whom YOU work with, what exactly it is that YOU offer and how great YOUR services are. It was YOU, YOU and YOUR EGO! Your pitch did not work because you did not think deeply enough about the underlying problem points of your customer.
Let’s be honest, nobody is really interested in you and what you do, unless you can demonstrate that you can be valuable to them. So for example when you say that you “provide an intelligent tool for innovation scouting”, “decrease CAPEX by 30%” or “implement a new product documentation system”, you are not talking about what your customers really care about. You are talking about yourself. When a person asks you “What do you do?”, what they really want to know is “Why do I need you?”
I use a simple 3 step process to help salespeople I work with to answer the question “Why do I need you?”. The goal of this process is to identify your customer’s pain points and their root causes. To show how this 3 step process can be put into practice, I will use our own company, TechSalesBox as an example. If you have a couple of minutes, why not improve your sales pitch right now? 😉
STEP 1 – What are the top 3 pain points you are solving?
- TIME – it takes salespeople a lot of time to get an appointment with the right target person
- APPOINTMENTS – salespeople struggle to have enough appointments with the right target persons
- COST – The cost of appointment setting is often very high
STEP 2 – The goal of the second step is for you to dig deeper into the root causes of your customer’s pain points. You will use the 5 Whys technique (Originally used by the Japanese at Toyota) to explore the cause-and-effect relationship underlying the problems you want to solve. To help you, you can find the most thoughtful and persistent person you know, and let him or her ask you the 5 Whys.
- 1st Why? – because salespeople use traditional outreach techniques like cold calling which are not scalable and demand on average 3 hours of time to schedule an appointment with the right target person
- 2nd Why? – because salespeople often lack experience and specialized knowledge to make the appointment setting effective
- 3rd Why? – because it can take 6 or more months of work to acquire this specialized knowledge on the most innovative tools and technologies
- 4th Why? – salespeople attention is focused on selling and winning the deals and they can not afford to invest 6 months of time to acquire specialized knowledge about effective appointment setting
- 5th Why? – because if they not bring enough sales and money into their company and might lose their job
STEP 3 – Now as you have identified the root causes of your customer pain points, you need to connect them in a meaningful way. The idea is to create a story-like reasoning and explain the root causes of your customer’s pain points. Also, you need to quantify the pain points with numbers, because saying for example “It costs salespeople a lot of time to get an appointment with the right target person” is not enough to spark the interest in your potential customer. You need to show how bad the problem is and use specific numbers to help you make your point:
- APPOINTMENTS – Salespeople focus their attention on selling and closing more deals. Without specialized knowledge regarding effective appointment setting, they struggle to schedule monthly 10 to 50 appointments with the right target persons.
- TIME – It takes a salesperson on average 3 hours time to schedule an appointment with the right target person because they use traditional appointment setting techniques like cold calling. They might lose their job if they would invest 6 months of working time to acquire the specialized knowledge required to make appointment setting effective.
- COST – scheduled appointment with the right target person costs companies often more than €300 because their highly paid salespeople spend on average 3 hours of time to schedule an appointment with the right target person. Without specialized knowledge, a team consisting for example of 10 salespeople spends around 7200 hours per year setting up appointments. This translates to about €540K of yearly operating costs for the company.
Notice, that the pain points and their root causes say nothing about me, my company or what I offer? Why? Because the goal of the sales pitch is to create interest and verify if your listener actually has the pain points you are solving. You want to see if he has the potential to become your customer. Next time somebody asks you “What do you do?”, stop for a second and remind yourself that he wants an answer to a different question: “Why do I need you?”. Remember that most of the people you will meet don’t care about you, your company or your product, they care only about themselves and their own problems. As a rule of thumb, I would recommend using the Pareto principle. You can talk 80% of the time about the pain points and 20% about how you solve them.
I would be delighted to hear your top 3 customer pain points and their root causes you have identified. Please feel free to share it in the comments below or send me a private message. I would be very happy to give you my feedback and help you to improve.