I was in a customer meeting the other day when the customer asked about the financial benefits of our new technology. The account manager answered the question by confidently telling the story of how our technology enabled a hospital to reduce it’s discharge times from 4 1/2 hours to 30 minutes. It was a compelling story. By reducing the discharge time, the hospital saved money, increased room availability, and reduced employee time spent transitioning patients. It was an excellent example of what our technology can do.
The problem; our partner doesn’t sell to hospitals and they aren’t a hospital.
The partners response? “That’s a great story, but I don’t care about hospitals, our competitors do. That’s part of their business, it’s not part of mine. I don’t sell to hospitals. This continues to show me you don’t understand my business.”
Our partner was right. He wanted examples of how his business could benefit from our technology. He wanted to understand how we were going to help HIM meet the market demands HIS company is facing, not those of his competitors. He doesn’t care about hospitals, he doesn’t sell to them.
This happens far too often. A company has this killer case study, a great story of how their product made a huge impact on one of their customers. It’s the perfect story illustrating the value of the companies product. It spreads through the sales team like wildfire. Eventually, it becomes part of every sales persons “pitch.”
The problem is; it’s not one size fits all. It has the wow factor. It hits all the sales elements, but smart customers see right through it. It’s not relevant to their business.
This weeks Sales Smack asked the question, Is Sales on Autopilot. I think this is an example of yes, they are.
If your customer isn’t a hospital, don’t talk about hospitals. If your customer isn’t a bank, don’t talk about banks. If you customer isn’t a hotel, don’t talk about hotels. Know your customers business, and give them examples they can understand. Make your stories matter or just don’t tell them.