For our July Webinar, Rick Cantril shared his experience initiating, dialing up, and maintaining Value Selling at scale, improving win rates by 10% and decreasing sales cycles by 50-75%. At the end of the session, he answered questions from the audience. Here are his live answers:
Not all customer meetings are perfect. What is an example of a rough customer meeting? What did you do? What did you learn?
I’m glad that came up because you are going to have those days, and if you’ve ever done any kind of change management, you know exactly what I’m referring to when I say “those days.” It’s almost scarring really.
I remember one conversation that was supposed to be a layup with the customer – so much so that this is one of the rare opportunities where they flew me out to meet with the executive team at one of our clients. I actually didn’t even know at the time they were upset about it. I think supposedly this was a great client, great opportunity. They’re so excited to learn about the value prop. And I think the first comment that came to me was, before I even was able to go into things, was “your stock price rises so much. I think that means that we should get a piece of that. Where’s our discount?”
That was probably the most positive comment out of that conversation. You know, I think it’s important to understand a couple of things – and this is what I share with my sales team in negotiation. Even your best friends are not your friends. And if you work with within an industry that uses consultants and ours is an industry that has them, their sole purpose is to beat you up and to drive down price and to make it seem like your product is a commodity. What I think LeveragePoint allows you to do, even if you’re going to have a negative meeting, is to go into it with the facts, go into it with a quantified Value Proposition; to go into it with data.
And there have been many times where clients or prospects don’t agree with the Value Proposition and that’s fine. In fact, if you’re trying to manipulate the system, maybe you want it to seem like there’s no value, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no value. You’ve just made the case. Here’s why we asked you to make the investment in our relationship – here’s our justification. Now they don’t have to accept it, but they don’t have to build a relationship with you either. They might not have the right strategy aligned to what it is that you drive. But I think what LeveragePoint gives you, like I said, is that confidence that when you are getting beat up (and everybody’s been in that situation, right?) where it’s not fun. And you feel like, “gosh, I’d rather be anywhere than here.”
LeveragePoint gives you a tool. It gives you a buddy. It’s almost its own wing man. And it allows you to get through those difficult conversations where you can continue to move back to the fact and try and avoid some of the emotion.
What do you find is hardest for a first time sales presenter of value? How do you help them out over their reluctance?
That’s a great question. One of the things that we incorporate into our training program and our experiential learning are similar to this presentation, where we have some of our power users talk about examples that are relevant to those that they’re training on. But then in the training, we also make it a little bit more immersive, to where they take a product or service that they are currently pitching to clients or prospects. And we have them do a dry run with one of those power users; one of our subject matter experts. So they get a sense of how the cadence works. And then ultimately what we have done is we’ve made the investment organizationally to where, if that’s not enough, if you still feel like, gosh, I want a little help. I know I want to build my own style.
We do work with the sales organization, hop on a call and we’re as involved as they want, or as not involved as they want it. They want us to give the whole presentation and they just kind of throw in comments, we’ve done that. Or sometimes they want to lead most of it. We kind of just interject the research. Usually what I’ve found is if you do that and you build the confidence of the organization, it doesn’t take more than that. I’d say in most cases, it only takes one confidence building experience before most people can just do it on their own.
In doing your training materials, did you get an outside agency or did you do them internally?
If you have the resources to get an outside agency to do it and your organization is confident that the quality will be there, I definitely recommend it. I think that’s a valuable investment. It will probably save you a lot of time. We did everything internally. And one of the reasons why I think we did most things internally, and maybe now at our level of maturity, we could probably outsource some of it. But initially we did things internally because we didn’t know what we were doing.
And I think that this conversation is so important as I hope that you gained a couple of key ideas, thoughts, or things that you can share with your organization and with your decision makers that will put you ahead of where we were when we started this. We really felt like we were on a journey into the wilderness for the first time we did a lot of our stuff, initially because we were experimenting. It’s good if you’re able to do it but it’s not something to be overwhelmed by.