You started a business and you’re all fired up! Your team is fired up! What you’re doing is better than your competition. In fact, it might just change the world.
But nobody knows about it. At least most of your potential buyers don’t.
Let’s assume for a minute you get an audience with a buyer. Your goal, by the time you are done speaking with her, is to get her to drink the punch: convince her to believe your ideas and buy from you.
The sellers who do this best—tell a convincing story and inspire buyers to take action—follow seven common steps, taken from our new book, Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently.
- Connection – Establish Credibility. Build rapport and establish credibility by demonstrating keen insight into the buyer’s world. The temptation for many entrepreneurs is to jump in to talk about their thing. Establish relevance and make a connection first by talking about the buyer’s world.
- Dissatisfaction – Name the Adversary. Next, establish the current state and why it’s not good enough. Change and action require people to want to be in a new place. That means you need to establish that their current place isn’t nearly good enough.
- Desire – Establish the Destination. People have a natural tendency to drive forward, but if they don’t know where they’re going, any road will get them there. You give the buyer a sense of their possible new reality when you establish the destination. Once you do, they’ll naturally want it, especially if you’ve already established that where they are now is not good enough.
- Layer the Dissatisfaction – Journey to the Depths of Despair. Simply suggesting, “Here’s where we are and why it’s not good enough” isn’t, you know, good enough. It doesn’t create the intense feeling of desire that’s so important for change. To do this, as you tell your stories, weave back and forth between the current and future state. The cadence of doing so makes the gap between where they are and where they want to be feel really big.
- Breakthrough! – Introduce a New Hope. If you lead the discussion properly, you’ll show why many people have tried—and failed—to get out of the current state. Buyers will start to feel resigned to failure as you tell this story. That is, until you introduce how a new way of doing things—your way of doing things—is changing the game and creating hope.
- Results – Communicate Results, Create the Feelings. A part of every entrepreneur’s value proposition is the business case for doing something new. Not only should you present the results you’ve been getting (or the results that are possible if they buy into your vision), but you should share the results that others have been getting. All sellers also must prove their case for why buyers should believe they will achieve these results, but even more so with entrepreneurs, because when people are buying something new, their natural tendency is to feel increased risk. Do whatever you can to substantiate your claims that “you can achieve these results, too.” This creates emotions of envy (I want that!) and increased desire that nearly seals the deal of buyers “buying into” sellers’ ideas.
- Action – Invite Collaboration. This is another place we deviate from your common sales advice. In our research, we found that sellers who win the most sales are perceived by buyers to collaborate with them. Most sellers will try to close the sale immediately after getting buy-in. But the more sophisticated the buyer, the more they want to be a part of crafting the solution. When they are, they feel more invested in moving forward…they feel ownership of the process. The more you can get buyers to feel ownership over taking action with you, the less it becomes you getting them to buy, and the more it becomes them itching to buy, and you facilitating the process.
The more you work with buyers to paint the picture of the future state and pour on the dissatisfaction of the buyer’s current state, the greater their desire will be to change. By following these seven steps, you get buyers fired up and stoke not only this desire to move forward, but also to move forward with you.
If you want to learn more about how to inspire buyers and how to harness the power of ideas in sales, pick up a copy of our new book. If you order by May 10, you’ll receive an exclusive expert interview series on what it takes to succeed in sales today with John Jantsch, Jill Konrath, Charlie Green, Andrew Sobel, and more. You’ll also be invited to join my Insight Selling co-author, John Doerr for an exclusive webinar on What It Takes to Become an Insight Seller. Plus, we are donating our portion of the book sales during the launch to the American Heart Association to support congenital heart defect research, which is a cause near and dear to my heart (read chapter 3 to find out why).