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Communications Drive Business, Part 4 - Challenge: Catching the White Whale
The day of the big pitch has arrived. It’s that one customer who has been on your follow-up list for years. You’ve perfected your Power Point slides, you have all the collateral your company has produced in the last year, you have product samples and you just feel on.
Fast forward 20 minutes into your capabilities presentation and you notice your coveted prospect checking his phone and looking down in disinterest during what might be his third similar pitch of the day for all you know. You’ve used every tool in the box and have gotten nowhere. What do you do next?
If you haven’t already, you try to engage with some thoughtful questions about your prospect’s challenges. You learn a little bit, and then it’s time for him to move on to his next meeting.
With some variation, a lot of sales calls go this way, despite the best efforts of sales and marketing teams. Yet, so many keep trying the same approach hoping for different results.
If only there was another way.
There’s one asset that many sales and marketing professionals overlook:
their company’s subject-matter experts.
Bringing in an SME who has a lot of knowledge in a particular area, can speak to industry trends or pain points your customers might be facing can be a disarming way to make headway with prospective customers. In short, taking a softer sales approach could be the key to unlocking opportunities with even your most elusive contacts.
Successful companies build an arsenal of these secret weapons to speak at conferences, author industry articles and to put in front of customers. But, SME programs must be built with care, featuring constant and consistent communication on all the channels your customers and prospects frequent from networking events and conferences to trade magazines and social networks.
At the end of the day, concerted SME programs build trust and admiration for your company, giving you the competitive edge in competitive situations.
Three things you can do today:
Talk to an engineer, technical service person or product manager. Ask them what trends they are seeing in their fields. And ask yourself, are we missing opportunities to educate our customers and our industry?
Visit your corporate LinkedIn page. Are you spending more time talking about products and upcoming tradeshows or are you giving your customers information that will help them achieve their business goals?
Look at your trusty capabilities presentation. Is it designed
or to talk
your customer? Your pitch should be brief and most of your time should be spent getting to know them or teaching them something new.
Communications Drive Business
Today, tearing down silos and building a business foundation based on effective communication is essential for businesses to thrive. When communication is strong across the board, all functions in your organization will operate more efficiently, your customers will have better experiences and you’ll be better equipped to grow and evolve your business.
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