Sales Speak is Hard to Change

October 7, 2019 at 4:53 pm | Blog

How often do you challenge your salespeople, and yourself, to clean up your company’s sales pitch? We have worked with hundreds of companies to help them build a compelling data-driven pitch. The key to success for any new sales pitch is that it must be a consistent presentation of your company’s value. And the goal is to get all salespeople singing from the same songbook so as not to confuse the marketplace. This does not mean there is one size fits all, however there is evidence that there are common denominators that buyers of a specific product or service value.

 

When a company learns those things and provides that information to the sales team, we often witness two seemingly monumental challenges in that effort.

 

First, salespeople have a favorite song they like to sing. They have perhaps been singing it for a long time, and their view can be that their approach has “pride of ownership” attached to it. Change takes effort. Change involves risk. Also, it may be the first time that management provided a meaningful, validated message.

 

However, when their senior management has done a great deal of work uncovering and analyzing relevant metrics that, when communicated, will help salespeople sell that which is most valued by customers and prospects, they often return to their standby ‘favorite song.’

 

We have a list of about 1200 potential attributes of value, of which 3 to 5 usually rate high by customers as meaningful buying criteria (these vary by industry/product/service/geography, etc.). These values are worthy of ongoing measurements. Management may be providing sales reps with great metrics for key values such as on time delivery, accuracy of documentation, responsiveness time, or warranty issues. Once a company knows the top 3 to 5 values to measure and tout, salespeople should all be loudly singing the company’s excellence with their performance metrics.

 

The second obstacle is salespeople often think they have “done okay” with their quotas so far. Even the best salesperson could do better. But it is difficult when any salesperson, especially a superstar, is asked to change their script.

 

We have seen too many company sales teams smile politely when given the new solid value proposition-based message, use it a few times, and then revert to sales speak. Not just salespeople, we see marketing fluff and sales speak all over many websites. We understand when web people claim they need all the words for SEO, but much of it drowns out the important, consistent message that matters.

 

Sales speak and marketing fluff means vacuous phrases like: “you can count on our team,” “we are very customer focused,” “we have decades of experience,” “our customers love us,” “we build great relationships,” and so on. Any one could sit down and write 100 of these without much effort. Such sales speak is “how to get your customers to zone out.” You and I won’t listen to it or believe it. Why should your customers?

 

If management is providing new data driven messages to sales, management needs to explain “why” it is important to share the new messages, make sales comfortable using them, and, by all means, show sales the current validation so they have confidence in the metrics they are sharing.

 

Wipe out sales speak to close more sales and protect your margins.