In the movie Jerry Maguire, when Tom Cruise is in the midst of his proposal to Dorothy, she stops him with, "You had me at hello." Every seller dreams of hearing those exact same words when they approach corporate decision makers.
Unfortunately, the opposite usually occurs. Instead of capturing their prospect's attention, most sellers create resistance with their opening remarks and blow the opportunity.
Why do bad things like that happen to good people?
In short, weak value propositions.
If you're running into trouble cracking into corporate accounts, most likely the root cause is your failure to clearly articulate the business outcomes that customers realize from using your products, services or solutions.
A couple weeks ago, I did a new exercise while training a group of sellers. In small groups, they rated common value propositions that sellers could use when prospecting for new customers.
Using a 1-10 (tops) scale, they evaluated value propositions such as these on their effectiveness in initiating change from the status quo:
__ We offer one-stop shopping for all your (fill in the blank) needs.
__ We're the industry leader in (fill in the blank) and have been
recognized for our exceptional (fill in the blank).
__ We specialize in ( fill in the blank) and work with well-known
clients such as Microsoft, Best Buy and Kraft.
After serious discussion amongst the sellers, these value propositions received scores between 4-6. Their rationale? They were nice benefit statements about the company, but not quite as punchy as they could have been.
Since my book, Selling to Big Companies, was required reading prior to the session, I assumed these sellers would ace this exercise. Not so! In fact, they were way off.
The truth is that all the above value propositions really deserve a score of one. Not four. Not six. Just a measly score of one.
"C'mon, Jill," you might be saying. "How can that be? They're not horrible statements. They're nice."
Yes, they are nice. I'll give you that. But they're grossly ineffective and that's why they rated so poorly.
Capturing the Decision Maker's Attention
While those commonly used value propositions listed above might be important at some point in the decision process, they're totally and utterly worthless when prospecting.
When it comes to capturing a decision maker's attention, here's what you need to think about: