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.
Your customers and prospects are crazy busy. The last thing they want to do is change the way they do things. There might be a better way, but what they're doing works. Remember: change is always disruptive.
But your job is to make change happen, either with a new product, a process or an idea. How do you get frazzled people to stop for five minutes to hear about your magic solution?
Here are five strategies you can use to be a change catalyst.
1. Talk to your existing customers. Your most recent customers are the ones who can help you understand the difference your offering made for their organization. Go back three to six months later. Ask them pointed questions about the improvements they've realized since choosing to do business with your company.
2. Establish multiple contacts in an account. The person you're talking to may fall in love with your solution, but you need to talk to the person who actually decides – especially if you've got a solid business case. Make sure to mention that you typically talk to all the people involved in the decision so no one thinks you're going behind their back.
3. Know your business value. Be able to clearly articulate the business case for change. What's most important is that you emphasize the key business drivers that your prospect is evaluated on. Know how long it takes for your customers to realize a strong return on their investment.
4. Don't waste your prospect's time. Time is their most precious commodity. Get right to the point. Identify the issue or opportunity you've spotted, and quickly share the business case for change. This should pique their curiosity and get them to want to learn more.
5. Be alert for change indicators. Busy people wait as long as possible to change, but ultimately something forces them to do things differently. If you want to spot these opportunities before your competitors, keep up-to-date on what's happening in your targeted accounts. Use LinkedIn, business journals and Google Alerts to ensure awareness of these trigger events.
Remember, the status quo is your biggest competitor. The ultimate question you need to answer for your prospect is "What's in it for me to do something different?" If you have a valuable idea, they'll want to do business with you.
Action item: Contact a recent client to set up an interview to learn more about the business value you/your company provides.
Jill Konrath is a sales strategist, speaker and author. You can find out more about her and get more of her ideas at jillkonrath.com or read her blog at jillkonrath.com/sales-blog.