I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
Let me guess…the headline pulled you in, right? You may well be thinking someone has found a new formula for water—that there are two magical words you can say that will skyrocket your revenue and commissions. The headline referred to these words as "powerful," so they must be new. Perhaps these words are a deceptive trick, hypnotizing prospects into pulling out their credit card to buy from you.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The reality is, these two words aren't ones you can ever say to a prospect, but they are guaranteed to drive your revenue and income. Yes, you read correctly: guaranteed. Who would be crazy enough to make such a claim about two little words? Well, it's not crazy. In my travels working with thousands of sales professionals, I've found a common thread in those who are tremendously successful. That thread comes down to the aforementioned two words, on which they base their entire sales career.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> It's popularly thought rock star salespeople are born with a gift of gab, and that this is the differentiator that makes them a success. Not true. Our two magic words can be taught to any salesperson, who can then effectively include them in his selling repertoire. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Enough mystery: The two most powerful sales words are synergy and priority.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Synergy is the process by which matches between the needs of a prospect and the capabilities of the supplier are identified. Synergy means you are crafting a solution, not pitching wares. Synergy means you understand the buying players as individuals, not just their company. Keep in mind that, to date, a company has never bought anything…people do.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> To master synergy, several actions need to be taken. The first is to study your buying players, making sure you fully understand them and what makes them tick. As they lie in bed at night thinking about their work, where is their mind focused? If your buying player is a CFO, he is probably focused on profits. How does your solution help the profitability of the company?<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The second is to fully study your company and understand its capabilities. What is it that your company does that solves the awake-at-night problems for your buying players? If you cannot identify these synergies, you now know why you can't get meetings with the people you want to engage. Your solution has to be congruent with their focus.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The third action is to develop a template needs analysis program, one including questions that expose the prospect's perceived challenges, as well as positioning questions that expose opportunities where your firm can improve upon the present situation. This part takes work, but it becomes the foundation for your sales success. Needs analysis (also two words) drives sales.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> In my keynote speech, I use a Velcro metaphor to make the point about synergy. As you know, there are two sides of Velcro—the cotton side and the hook side. If you evenly overlay the two sides, a tight bond is created, and it's difficult to separate the two pieces. But if you only match a corner, it is easily separated. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Synergy in sales means you are forming a tight bond between a supplier and a prospect based on a match of needs, wants, and desires. As you can imagine, the needs analysis discussions are critical to a salesperson's ability to identify the synergy. And needs analysis plays a role with the other most powerful sales word: priority.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Priority is what leads a prospect to buy today. Not tomorrow. Not in the future. Today. Synergy gets the prospect into the pipeline. Priority leads a prospect to become a client. The same tools referenced earlier for synergy are also necessary for priority. A salesperson's ability to facilitate effective needs analysis discussions is the key to mastering priority. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> "Why should they buy this today when they can just as easily buy tomorrow?" Sure, there are motivators that can be employed: discounts, incentives, etc. But if you truly understand your prospect, their challenges, and the solution, you have all the information necessary for getting the deal done without those motivators being offered. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Priority's arch-enemy is status quo&3x2026;and don't underestimate the power it has. It is the No. 1 killer of sales pipelines. Status quo will win every time if you don't have the information you need to understand why the buyer should buy today.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> "But the decision-maker is a busy person," you proclaim. "How am I supposed to get her attention?" Well, I'll bet I can get your attention: Imagine receiving an e-mail from your CEO saying he to meet with you tomorrow to discuss tripling your salary. You won't even check your calendar before responding, "I'll be there!" Making money is a priority for you. All else gets cast aside when someone wants to put more money in your pocket. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The same concept applies to sales. If the solution that you have designed is aligned with the priorities of the decision-making buying player, the deal happens. If not, status quo will win it.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Note: Need help identifying your buying players? Send an e-mail to the address below to receive a helpful worksheet.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> SMM <i>editorial advisory board member Lee B. Salz is a sales management strategist, president of Sales Architects, CEO of Business Expert Webinars, and author of both "Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager" and the forthcoming "The Sales Marriage." He can be reached at <a href="mailto:lsalz@SalesArchitects.net">lsalz@SalesArchitects.net</a> or by calling 763-416-4321.</i>