When was the last time your doctor walked into the exam room, opened up a PowerPoint deck, and started the conversation with, “I went to Johns Hopkins for medical school, did my rotations at Stanford, and have been treating rare diseases for 20 years. My patients include everyone from busy professionals to young families to geriatrics. And here are some of their pictures …”
It’s never about the doctor.
I’ve had knee surgery (three times – ouch), and I can tell you from personal experience that this isn’t how those conversations go. His impressive qualifications are never the first thing my doctor wants to talk about (much less, the first thing I want to hear about). What matters most is my pain: why I came, what my symptoms are, and where it hurts. In other words, my doctor wants to talk about me, not him.
It’s always about the pain.
It’s even better when the doctor takes one look, asks me to move this or presses that, and then immediately recognizes what I’m dealing with. The best B2B conversations – whether through online marketing or in-person selling – take the same approach. Despite your amazing solutions and capabilities, you’ve got to start those B2B conversations with the prospect’s pain first. Sure, you may want to briefly introduce yourself and your specialty, but you have to quickly get to the pain. That’s why it’s always good to bring a villain to your next pitch.
With this in mind, take a look at your sales deck.
Chances are, those first few slides of your sales deck lead with your company, your qualifications, your customer logos. This seems like a good way to build credibility and trust, but isn’t it getting the conversation backwards? What if those first few slides focused on naming the customer pain instead? Not only would you get your customer’s attention faster, but right off the bat, you’d be demonstrating your expertise instead of just talking about it. And if you press where it hurts, the customers may even realize this is more serious than they thought.
Pain first, qualifications later.
Once you’ve clearly identified the pain, it’s easy to shift the B2B sales conversation to how you’ve seen this so many times before (social proof), how you’ve treated it (your process, case stories), and how other patients have responded to your treatment (success metrics and even your customer logos slide). Your prospect is ready to continue the conversation and accept your prescription. Pain first, qualifications later. It’s a simple shift, but it can change the whole dynamic in critical conversations – maybe even in your team’s big pitch tomorrow.