Great Sales Conversations: “What’s in it for me?”

1 Nov 12

Great sales conversations always focus on the benefit to the customer.

We are now in the homestretch of the 2012 political season, and the airwaves are flooded with political ads, speeches and debates. For sales professionals, observing skilled politicians engaging in sales conversations with voters can be a great “teaching moment.”

There is an old adage in politics that a winning candidate has to first successfully answer this threshold question: “Why are you running?” Effective politicians give succinct answers that directly tie to some major concern the voters have (e.g., “I want to get America working again!”). Ultimately, these politicians understand that voters won’t pay attention unless they quickly understand “What’s in it for me?”

A good analogy in sales is how a successful sales rep engages a prospect during a prospecting call. After the greeting, the rep needs to quickly gain a prospect’s attention in order to develop the sales opportunity. The key here is to answer the customer’s implicit threshold question “What’s in it for me?” We refer to this part of the prospecting process as the Impact Benefit Statement. This is the reason why the prospect should care about what you are saying and would want to engage in the conversation.

A good Impact Benefit Statement…

  • is brief (8-10 seconds),
  • explains how the product/service can help this prospect, and
  • contains a metric that quantifies the benefit.

Finally, if/when possible, the Impact Benefit Statement should be tailored to the prospect’s specific business. Think of how politicians tailor their message for different audiences. Whoever connects best with the American people’s needs has a better chance of winning an election. In sales, whoever connects best with the customer’s needs has a better chance of winning the deal.


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