The sales person enters the room on the ‘Sales Voice Show’. The Sales Manager’s red swivel chair is facing away from them. The Sales Manager says, “Now give me your best elevator pitch!” After an agonising few rambling, mumbling minutes of features and benefits, the sales manager delivers their feedback. “I’m sorry but it lacked emotion… you need to make it your own… It needs to come from the heart…”
We should be confident that as sales people, we can articulate value at any time and indeed any place. we should have a great sales voice. But can we really do this? Really?? In olden times, when I was a young sales lad, this was called the ‘elevator pitch’. But the sales elevator died as people said, “I’m sorry but it’s got to be relevant to the buyer your pitching to.” And the elevator pitch was sent unceremoniously to the basement of outdated sales ideas, never to be seen again.
Defying convention, I think we should press the button in the lobby of hope and raise the elevator pitch out of the dank and gloomy basement, and send it back up into our sales enablement toolkits where it belongs. To mix my metaphors horribly, I think the elevator pitch was thrown out with the bathwater. (If you think that is a poorly constructed sentence, please don’t write in.) It’s back in our sales training courses and so far, nobody has suffered any long term ill effects.
“Why?” I hear you demand. “Why? In the name of all that is holy about solution based selling would you do that?” But please hear me out. We need sales people to be able to find their sales voice, to articulate value at any time. At any point in the sales cycle. The amount of sales people I meet in my sales training courses that cannot succinctly articulate the value that they create for their customers, beggars belief. If a buyer asks you, “What can you do for my business?” The response, “I don’t know until you let me find out.” Will be swiftly followed by, “OK then, I’ll find someone who can.”
So how do you do find you’re sales voice and articulate value for a buyer you don’t yet know? This comes out all the time on our sales training courses. You benchmark a company that 1) they’ll probably know and 2) that you have created value for. Let’s replay the conversation: “What can you do for my business?” asks the impatient buyer. “We recently managed to increase the sales revenue by 33% of a company called <company name> who you may know. I’m not saying we can do that for you, as all situations are different, but if you can give me 60 minutes of your time I’ll put 100% effort into finding out if we can.” Sound a little better?
Conclusion: test your sales voice and those of your sales colleagues. Ensure that you have multiple examples of value creation that you can draw upon to articulate value any time, any place, anywhere!