Actually, this post about sales conversations discusses one of Jill Konrath’s wonderful posts about value propositions.
Ms. Konrath starts her post logically enough by asking how you can tell if you have a weak value proposition. Well, prospects don’t respond when you contact them or they brush you off with a phrase like “We’ve already got that handled.”
“You can’t sell if you can’t get in the door. You can’t inspire buyers to take action if you don’t focus on what matters to them,” says Ms. Konrath. And she continues by commenting that a great way to discover your value proposition is to ask your customers. But not just any customers. You don’t want to talk to happy customers, because they’ve probably forgotten the issues and challenges they faced before adopting your product or service.
Instead, talk to those who have recently made the switch. Their pain points are still fresh in their minds, and they can likely articulate how you helped them out. Even if they don’t have precise figures, their anecdotal information will be helpful.
That said, what kind of questions do you want to ask? Ms. Konrath lists 11, of which I show five. (This is an inducement to read the article, because not only is she a sales guru, she’s also a pretty darn good writer.)
My top five faves
Of course, you’ll want to put these questions in your own words, so they sound like you. And you notice they’re all open-ended to overcome peoples’ tendency to cut you off and play to their desire to talk.
- What did you do before you adopted our product/service?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the effectiveness of our product in helping you reach the results you wanted?
- What were the three most important benefits your received from our product (our work together)?
- What was that worth to you?
- Can you help me quantify the payoff your organization realized from using our product/service?
Ms. Konrath reminds us to ask the same questions to more than one person in your customer’s organization and to talk to more than one client. Some people will give you better insights and information.
What have you done for me lately?
These are great questions. (Because we’re all selling in one way or the other, I think you can adapt them to your everyday life of work and relationships.) And I love Ms. Konrath’s parting comment: “Remember, no one wants to buy your product or service. They only want what it can do for them.”
And now, the inimitable Ms. Konrath in her own words.