You can run into a potential customer or client anytime and anywhere so you should always be prepared for that occasion. But you want to make sure you’re going to communicate something appropriate for that moment and chances are, if you run into someone by accident they’re not going to be very open to hearing a 30 minute PowerPoint presentation.
Unfortunately many sales people only have one pitch ready to go and they try to give it in every situation. They have 20 slides in their bag or on their computer and they just have to deliver all that information to the customer to make sure they get all those features and benefits out. If you look at these presentations they’re typically full of features and functions that allow the customer to understand the product or service but the long presentation is often short on the reasons why a customer should be interested.
For any new product, service or even internal proposals, I like my team members to create what I call a 30-3-30 which are 30 second, 3 minute and 30 minute exchanges. I purposely call them exchanges because any presentation to a customer is two way. You want the customer to be engaged enough that they want to ask questions. The focus of this article is the 30 second exchange.
The goal of the 30 second exchange is to generate visibility, start earning credibility and to get your customer to want to know more about you and your business. Leave the customer with a question or questions that result in them wanting to know more. The things you need to accomplish in 30 seconds are:
• Articulate a business situation that you know your customer has
• Identify a problem associated with the customer’s business situation
• Suggest a plausible solution that you and/or your company have expertise in
• End the statement with the customer/client naturally asking for more
I’ve heard countless times, “But I have way more to sell than I can get into a 30 second statement.” My experience says that if you can’t get a customer to want to know more, in less than 30 seconds, especially during these chance meetings, the person will likely find a way to end your encounter before you’ve finished. More importantly, if you can’t get a person interested in your offering within 30 seconds, you probably aren’t clear on your value proposition. Even worse, you may not have a value proposition.
Perhaps the best way to close is to give you an example of one of my 30 second exchanges which goes something like this:
“Documenting sales plans is a good thing both for the sales person and the company they work for. The problem with most sales plans is they focus on why “companies” buy often in the language of balance sheets, which is good, but companies don’t make decisions… People do. And when people are choosing between you and your competition they’re looking for five things. The Five Abilities ™ is a methodology for how you focus your daily actions on addressing those five things that are most important to your customer.”
In 30 seconds I’ve…
• Articulated a business situation: Every company spends countless hours creating sales plans.
• Identified a problem: Sales plans don’t always focus on the people making the decisions.
• Suggested a plausible solution: The Five Abilities ™ focuses on the five things customers want.
• Created a customer question: What are The Five Abilities ™?
In almost all cases, this simple 30 second exchange spawns a question and it often results in the customer wanting to spend a few extra minutes so I can give my 3 minute summary of The Five Abilities ™ which most often leads to a formal meeting.
Give it a try. I know you’ll surprise yourself with how creative you can be in just 30 seconds.