Pitching the Inevitable
“You hear that Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability.”
One of the things that sales people constantly struggle with is how to project a sense of authority in their interactions with prospects.
If you’re a Market Development Rep, it’s about being authoritative enough to persuade a (likely more senior than you) recruiter to take a demo. If it’s an AE, it’s the authority to recommend a certain course of action to an agency owner who’s been running his business a certain way for 20 years.
One way to do this is to ensure that your sales staff truly are authoritative, by training them to truly be “students of the game” – and be able to talk shop right alongside, or better than, the prospects they’re selling to. But that’s a big investment. More on that in another post, because I believe it’s worth it, and we do it like crazy at TalentBin
But short of that, there are some hacks as well.
It’s not a question of if, but when. #
One thing I encourage my staff to do is to adopt an air of inevitability in their interactions.
Not in an unpleasant, haughty way, but more in the sense of “This is going to happen eventually. It can be with us now. Us later. Or maybe even someone else later. But it’s going to happen.”
The approach helps a couple of ways.
First, it gives more junior sales staff some backup when their backbone needs some stiffening. It gives them license to be direct and challenge.
Second, it takes some of the adversariality out of the interaction with a prospect. That may sound a little counterintuitive, but it’s true. If you’re in the mode of “Hey, I have this offering I want to show you right now, let’s do it, let’s do it, come on!”, it’s actually pretty easy for a prospect to push that off, and can actually create an environment of an MDR pushing too hard, which feels pushy to the prospect, which flusters the MDR, which just makes a mess, in general.
But if the mode is “Look, this is an offering that your business is inevitably going to adopt in order to compete. We can talk about it now. Or I can call back in a week. Or you can buy it now, or buy it in a year. But it’s going to happen, and I’m just here to bring you the news. So let’s become friends in the meantime, because we’re going to get to know each other.” it substantially changes the interaction. Once the prospect knows you have the conviction of the inevitable, it often ceases to be a “not now” to a “ok, when.”
This of course isn’t automatic – and you better have a damn good pitch to back it up, even as the appointment is being set – but it changes the interaction in a way that benefits your sales staff.
And in so doing, it actually accelerates the inevitable.