When it comes to delivering your sales message, there’s tremendous pressure to parrot the competition. Recent McKinsey research on B2B messaging calls out, “a surprising similarity among the brand themes that leading B2B companies emphasized.”* In a marketplace where vendors are all saying the same things, overwhelmed B2B buyers are searching for some sliver of difference between you and your competitors. Here are seven do’s and don’ts that can help you differentiate your next sales conversation – and avoid the parrot.
The Do’s & Don’ts
If I’m a typical buyer, these are the do’s and don’ts that would make you stand out to me:
- DO uncover a threat I was unaware of.
DON’T explain to me what I already know.
- DO shift the conversation away from yourself and talk about my world.
DON’T just focus on your company and/or solution.
- DO underline my pain points and frustrations.
DON’T offer me medicine before we agree on the diagnosis.
- DO add up the cost of inaction for me.
DON’T let me feel comfortable with the status quo.
- DO show genuine empathy for my challenges.
DON’T talk down to me or downplay my “little” concerns.
- DO ask me relevant, thought-provoking questions.
DON’T forget to listen to my answers.
- DO show me how I can be the hero.
DON’T tell me how awesome you are.
Dig deeper into your prospect’s issues – instead of being so quick to jump into your company’s capabilities – and you won’t sound like everybody else in your industry. Abandon the self-centered corporate messaging that’s all too common in today’s B2B sales presentations. Don’t parrot the competition. You and your buyer will both be better off.
*SOURCE: McKinsey Quarterly, 2013 Issue #4, “How B2B companies talk past their customers”