The Alphabet Article Series – The ABCs of Solving Sales Problems – The 3 “P’s”

As I considered an analogy for this week’s letters, another “P” word kept coming to mind, Politics. Unless you live in the forest with no access to the internet or TV, you know how politically charged our nation is right now. I’ve never seen quite the divide between parties as we face today and I don’t see an end in sight. Despite where you fall on the political spectrum, however, modern-day politics is chock full of our 3 “P’s” for this week, and believe it or not, there is a silver lining here, these words are very important to your sales team and how you attract your next client.

Enter the 3 P’s: Positioning           Power Words             Promotions 

Positioning. So, right out of the gate there is some good news with this first “P”. You have complete control over it and can plan and modify it before using it out in the marketplace. Think of positioning in two ways, first in respect to your prospect, second in respect to your competition in the space.

First, your prospects. Whether you sell a product, or a service, you have to put your prospect first. The best way to do that is to think about that infamous “so what?” question. A more detailed way to think about it is what pain point are you trying to solve for in terms of how it impacts the client and their business. Are you saving them time? Are you saving them money? Are you making them money? Are you simply doing something way more efficiently and cost-effective than they can do it themselves? And, most importantly, how do you quantify that to your prospects?

Think of your positioning as your first and best chance to tell the prospects that not only what you have will help them, but you are speaking about it in a way that demonstrates you care about their current situation. If the messaging, the case studies, the collateral and your sales pitch all center around what’s in the best interest of your clients, they will recognize it, respect it and respond to it.

Now, your competition. Just like with your prospects, you have control here. You may choose to leverage your competition by what they don’t do, their cost structure, or their inability to deliver the quality or service you provide. A word of caution here, your prospects know you have competition. And they may even know some of them or have vetted them prior to speaking with you. Any time you are asked about it, take the high road. Focus on your qualities or strategies instead of berating another group in front of your prospects. Know your competition, but know your industry. If you can talk about how you are different than many in the industry, it will be seen as a differentiator, not your bad-mouthing of a particular competitor.

Power Words. Like with all things power, the first thing I will mention that you must be judicious and calculated with your power words. These words will have a positive impact if properly placed in your collateral, on your website, in your interaction with your prospects. Like with all messaging, though, you need to predetermine what your specific power words are going to be and just how you plan to use them. What’s more, my suggestion is that you instill these guidelines in your team, especially anyone new to the organization or a bit green in the industry. Because of the impact they can have when used properly, there will be a tendency to want to use them, so guidance and clarity are key.

On the flip side, be sure to use them. These kinds of emotionally-charged words are meant to influence your prospects by setting a scene, create mental images, and to tell your story. So, plan in advance to have them properly placed throughout your message and in your various messaging venues. Also, be sure your sales team knows it’s important that they use them in the predetermined way I just mentioned. These words will add life, color and uniqueness to your offering and your brand if used well.

Promotions. I want to be very specific here, the kinds of promotions I want to address are the kinds you offer to your prospects and clients, not internal operational employee promotions. One quick note on the internal ones, though. Be sure they are celebrated with vigor. People want to be recognized and sincerely celebrated for their accomplishments, so be sure this kind of promotion is done “in public” and with a sincere amount of accolades and appreciation. It will go a long way with your team.

Now, for external version of the word. I have to admit, my jury is out on the debate of “run promotions, or don’t run promotions”. I think if you are in the business-to-consumer world, there is a time and a place to run promotions, especially if there is a certain shelf-life to your product or if you sell time in some capacity (i.e. you own a trampoline park and rent jump time) and you can’t get unused time back. In these circumstances, I think promotions can do a great deal for salvaging potentially lost revenue.

However, with a capital H, if you are a business-to-business organization, especially if you are in a services industry, I strongly advocate never running them. I know, never is a harsh word. But, here’s why. As a leader or owner, you know the value of what you provide. And, you know what it costs to provide it. When you slash your prices (this is usually what a promotion ultimately means), you send a message to your prospects that they shouldn’t be placing too high a value on what you do. What’s more, you may also risk sending your current clients the wrong message that they are paying too much.

I’m not saying don’t negotiate. I am also not saying that you can’t take special circumstances into account. But what I am saying is that the risk of poorly received messages on top of the loss in potential revenue is almost never worth it. This is especially true if you have to put undue stress on your technology or people to deliver the same level of quality at your normal pricing. And if you do need to sharpen your pencil in a particular situation, there is no reason to announce it to the whole free world.

Put people first, use the 3 “P’s” as they can benefit you best, and know that I am here to help or just chat should you ever want to discuss what’s best for your team.

I invite you to read my blog: A Supplement to The Alphabet Article Series – The ABCs of Solving Sales Problems – 3 P’s

To raising all ships!

P.S. Be sure to join us next week when we talk about the 3 Q’s – Quiet, Quickness, Quality