As professional salespeople, we are faced with 3 constants as we work our sales opportunities:
People, Time and Money
Sales Gauge frequently works with technology sales teams and we often see a propensity for the sales people to focus their discovery on the Critical Technical Issue (CTI), latching on to the technical solution that the client needs to solve. But keep in mind that the CTI is typically one piece of a much bigger puzzle. And it’s also not the “sticky” part – the part that really speaks to the customer. In order to get there, you need to focus on the Critical Business Issue (CBI) and this means building a better discovery process that will help you create STORIES. These stories clearly show the customer that you have both insight into their business and credibility, which instantly makes the prospect more comfortable.
The best stories relate to a CBI, not the CTI. In the book “Made to Stick,” by Chip and Dan Heath, they report a startling piece of information; they sought to understand what people recalled from a presentation. It turns out that 5% of the participants recalled statistics (we refer to them often as speeds and feeds) yet 63% recall the story associated with the presentation. So the lesson here is to that it is critical to identify the anecdote that will deliver the highest impact based on the persona and industry we are selling to.
If you want to craft effective, interesting stories that will drive new opportunities, then you need to begin by understanding and effectively articulating the CBI. So how do you get there? There are some key considerations to think about:
- What is the pain that you are trying to solve for your prospect?
- What are the specific challenges facing the industry?
- How about the Critical Technical Issues?
- What is the Critical Personal Issue (CPI) that might be involved? What would the world look like for your prospect when your solution is in place? Promotion, Fame, Job Security or a Bonus? We often forget to get the CPI and it really makes life easier when we go to close the client.
The answers to these questions form the foundation for effective sales storytelling - crafting and delivering the right messages to the right people at the right time. And this all begins with understanding the Critical Business Issue.
Do you have a storytelling example to share? We’d love to hear about it so leave us a comment!