Sales and Marketing Performance Blog

Positioning Statements - Best New Sales Technique of the Year

Posted by Mark Gibson on Tue, May 03, 2011

If your sales team is cold calling, you might try this technique

I read a lot of books written by other sales training professionals and attend professional development courses every year. When I find an idea that I think will work I'll try it.

Like most people reading this blog, I use the phone to speak to prospective clients every day. Thankfully most of my leads are inbound leads from my HubSpot system, as I'm not a big fan of cold-calling.

Every time a prospect answers the phone, I use a positioning statement, which is a new sales technique from Dave Kurlan's the best salesbook I read last yearBaseline Selling, that I learned while doing HubSpot partner training.

The positioning statement and associated technique from this book is extremely powerful in getting initial engagement and I have fully embraced it as it produces very high engagement rates.

Real World Example

I'm a sales and marketing consultant and I work on problems that intersect sales and marketing, representing two products, HubSpot for Inbound Marketing and WhiteboardSelling for more effective sales presentations. The following examples are verbatim for my business, but you can easily adapt them for yours.

To examine how they work, let's start with the buyer.

Buyer: Ring Ring....Buyer thinking: Oh-oh another interruption, I've got no time, but I will answer as it could be important.

Buyer: Hello this is Jim Buyer.

SP: Hi Jim, this is Rick Salesman from XYZ Company, I'm calling because I thought you might be interested in hearing about how we could help you save a lot of money on your ........; I'll be in your area next week and I would like....     click!, or alternatively, Buyer: Thanks Rick, but we've already got what XYZ makes....goodbye.

Have a listen to the next inbound cold call you get and I'll bet it goes something like that.

Now let's examine a better way of making that call.

Step 1. Ring Ring...

Buyer: Hi, Jim Buyer

SP: "Hi Jim - it's Rick Salesperson"...........wait for the buyer to respond.

Buyer: Hi Rick......do I know you?

SP: "Oh Oh, sounds like you are in the middle of something /or name doesn't ring a bell?"

What just happened here? The salesperson introduced himself and then waited until the buyer gave him permission to speak. This pause in itself is a powerful technique and sets up the next part of the call perfectly.

If you are cold calling, the buyer will not know you, if you are following up an inbound lead, the odds that the buyer will remember your name are remote, but give them time to think, so instead of jumping down the buyers throat, we make a judgment call and use either of the opening statements.

We then segue to the first positioning statement. (If you want the positioning statement technique in detail, buy the book, it's well worth the investment.) I will summarize the technique I use for both HubSpot leads and WhiteboardSelling leads in my business, which took a few minutes of effort to create, but pays off every time I pick up the phone. If you are cold calling, you can skip the next four lines.

SP: Jim, do you recall downloading a WhiteboardSelling Whitepaper recently?

Buyer: Well yes, come to think of it I do...

SP: Did you actually get time to read it?

Buyer: responds....

SP: Jim, is it OK if I take a moment to explain why I'm calling?

Buyer: Sure....

(You have waited for permission to speak and now asked for permission to ask a question...this already sets you apart)

SP: I help marketing leaders who are frustrated with the inability of the sales team to differentiate their products in a crowded market.

(If you have done your job well and targeted the buyer effectively with the first positioning statement, you may get an engaging signal like .....yes that's always been a problem.)

SP: "Jim, do you mind if I ask you a question?"

Buyer: "Sure"

SP: "I talk to a lot of marketing leaders and lately I'm hearing the two biggest problems are weak sales pipeline and an inability of the sales team to differentiate either on the phone or in person..... do either of these sound familiar?

Create a Martix of Role-based Positioining Statements

I have a matrix of product and role-based positioning statements I use to call the various stakeholders that register as leads from my Website for both products.

Because I have been polite and asked permission at each step of the call, if the positioning statements are slightly off target, I have found that most of the time, the buyer will volunteer their biggest problem and then you are off to the races.

When you are on target and the buyer has frustration in achieving their objectives and identifies with one or both of the biggest problems in your positioning statement, the response from the buyer can vary from interested to enthusiastic. Of course for highly auditory-digital types it can be a detached silence, but that's another story.

Take-aways

1. Read the book...its an easy read and has plenty of immediately usable tools.

2. Take the time to create your own positioning statements.

3. Practice using them and use them on every call...in particular the opening pause and the sequence of questions...use them when you start your presentations as well, it gets everyone focused around how you create value.

Topics: sales performance, positioning statements, dave kurlan

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