When pursuing big companies, most sellers want to ensure that decision makers know all about the full range of products, services or solutions that they provide.
Proudly, they brag:
• "We offer a full breadth of services."
• "We provide our customers with 1-stop shopping."
• "We can handle all your _____ needs."
These killer phrases are detrimental to their sales objective and actually create massive roadblocks for them. But they don't want to believe me.
Marketing has convinced them that these words are exactly what customers want to hear - that prospects will be impressed with their vast capabilities which differentiate them from everyone else in the market.
And, truth be told, they're scared. By sharing every detail of their offering, they're hoping that something - one thing - will interest the decision maker and a purchase decision will be imminent.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.
Corporate decision makers today don't want to deal with the "jack of all trades." Instead, they much prefer dealing with experts who really understand their business, marketplace and needs.
Plus, when you dump your entire offering on them, you're not connecting with any urgent or compelling business need. With no focus, there's nothing there for your customers to grab on it.
Finally, by pitching your entire offering, you're setting yourself up as a self-serving salesperson who's only interest it to get an order.
To be successful getting into big companies today, you need a foot-in-the-door strategy that revolves around only one subset of your entire offering.
Years ago, I discovered that it was much easier to get into large organizations if I focused on a very specific business problem which I knew I could positively impact--new product launches.
Many companies do a terrible job preparing their field sales organization to sell the new products or services they're introducing. As a result, sales revenue typically lags far behind projections.
My targeted customers clearly had an immediate, urgent need for help. The success or failure of a new offering is highly visible in the company. If the new product flopped, everyone knew about it. Careers were at stake. Windows of opportunity would be lost, market share could erode, and the lifetime profitability of the product was seriously diminished.
Despite the fact that I was capable of doing training on a wide range of sales skills, I chose to focus my "getting in" strategy on helping salespeople be successful at launch.
In my early meetings with the corporate decision makers, I never confused my message by sharing the entire breadth of my services. The focus of our discussion was always on their product launch issues. Once I had a successful project under my belt, I let my clients know how I could help them in other ways.
How can you uncover your own foot-in-the-door strategies? Try these approaches.
1. Let your customers tell you.
Look at your existing customers to see if there is any similarity between how you got your first contract with these accounts. Did you start out tackling a specific type of problem or opportunity? If so, what was it?
2. Find the white spaces.
Search for areas that their current supplier or service provider might have overlooked. There are always gaps in their offerings. Check out competitive websites to look for possible shortfalls. Think about areas of their business they don't stress.
3. Be willing to take the crumbs.
You don't want to position yourself head-to-head against an incumbent. Unless they're really screwing up, it's too hard to dislodge them. Go after a small piece of business first, prove your value and then expand.
As far as I'm concerned, phrases like "1-stop shopping" are a bunch of worthless tripe that makes you sound like a cheesy salesperson.
The more you try to be all things to all people, the less likely anyone wants to work with your company.
It's time to figure out your own best foot-in-the-door strategy and start using it. Now!
This is just a sampling of what we're covering in the "Getting Into Big Companies" teleseminar series. For more information, check out our Upcoming Teleseminars .