Sales messaging Part 1
Generating More Sales with Higher Impact Differentiating Factors
Watch this overview video first.
Ingram Micro is a unique company with competitive advantages that separate us from our competitors. Whether we’re recommending a quick up-sell or working on a multi-million dollar deal with multiple decision makers and influencers, we need to be able to convincingly communicate what it is that makes Ingram Micro or our recommendation(s) different from our competitors. Your journey in generating more sales begins with better sales messaging, which is what this practice topic is all about.
One thing we’ve noticed is that world class athletes, military ops personnel and performing arts professionals use practice, repetition and constructive coaching to reach astonishing levels of performance. SalesGym is built on the same improvement fundamentals or practice, repetition and coaching and that’s exactly what you’re going to experience in your practice sessions with your SalesGym Coach.
This guide gets us started with our first topic, “Using our competitive advantages and open-ended questions more effectively”. This guide along with the demonstration videos and audio recordings will help you prepare for your fast paced coaching session.
Influence Fundamentals: 7 Core Blocking & Tackling Skills
We have found that in virtually all sales organizations, regardless of what you sell, what the sales cycle is, and what your sales process is, the 7 core skills that have the most impact on your overall effectiveness on sales calls under pressure are:
The best chefs are able to create fantastic meals by combining world-class ingredients with the perfect cooking process to maximize flavor and make their meals more desirable. It takes both an effective process and great ingredients to make this happen.
Think of sales messaging as your communication ingredients. Whether we call them competitive advantages, differentiating factors, or elements of your value proposition doesn’t matter, these are our “ingredients” we use with our sales process to generate more sales.
The C-H-E-T Framework
The DNA of great selling is concise and thought-provoking differentiating factors that lead naturally into insightful questions that open up an opportunity-generating conversation. This is one of the keys to what top performers do better than other salespeople. They learn to pack a lot of punch into their differentiating factors and can communicate them one at a time to set up great questions. No matter where you are in the sales process, the ability to connect to your value proposition and competitive advantages and then use an engaging and insightful open-ended question is a powerful selling skill.
To practice getting better and better at this skill, we’re going to learn to respond to questions that nearly any prospect has, whether they ask them or not. Questions like:
Why should I do business with Ingram Micro?
Why is your solution better than the competitor’s solution?
What is it about Ingram Micro’s service and scale capabilities I need to know about?
How can Ingram Micro help me in ways my current provider isn’t?
Whether your decision makers and influencers ask these questions or not, this is what they are thinking when they are trying to decide whether or not to buy from you. In this topic, we’ll learn to connect all the ingredients you need to become a more compelling communicator when it comes to what makes Ingram Micro the right company to do more business with.
The C-H-E-T process
C-H-E-T is a process to respond to questions and a perfect way to practice communicating competitive advantages in a concise way that lead to engaging open-ended questions
Short, conversational phrase to take the friction out of our response
Introduce a concise “headline(s)” with customer-oriented phrasing
Explain the “headline(s)” using customer-oriented phrasing
Use a relevant, conversational open-ended question at the end of your response
What's an Effective Headline?
Headlines that effectively capture the essence of a differentiating factor or competitive advantage are one of the most powerful tools in the entire sales process. Here are some examples of headlines that you might use when talking about Ingram Micro to a decision maker or influencer:
“The scale of our inventory gives you access to more choices and solutions than with any other IT provider … “
“Our customers tell us repeatedly it’s the quality of our service that makes all the difference … “
“I have the ability to connect you with experts on our team that can solve even the most challenging networking issues …”
“We have the ability to come up with financing options and solutions that can help you grow much faster … “
Top performing sellers use a lot of customer-oriented phrasing that explains their competitive advantages and differentiating factors from the perspective of their customers. Sometimes we call this “peer-to-peer phrasing.” Below you’ll see how a seller may typically describe their competitive advantages, and on the right you’ll see how that headline has been expressed in a more customer oriented way. For the purposes of CHET, we want to use customer-oriented phrasing as much as possible to communicate our differentiating factors in as compelling and persuasive a way as possible.
More Typical Seller Phrasing Example (Less Effective)
Our customer service at Ingram Micro is second to none …
Customer-Oriented Phrasing Example (More Effective)
If you talk to our customers, one thing they’ll immediately tell you is our sales team is able to bring them creative solutions, not just price quotes. They love how we become a part of their IT team and bring creativity and expertise to the table that is helping them grow …
More Typical Seller Phrasing Example (Less Effective)
Because of our scale, we offer the widest possible selection of inventory whether you need networking hardware, new computers, or any peripheral you can think of …
Customer-Oriented Phrasing Example (More Effective)
Recently, a customer I was speaking with told me that the scale of our inventory is giving them more creative choices that’s not only saving them money, but they’re solving IT challenges in ways they simply couldn’t before they started working with Ingram Micro …
This kind of phrasing, when used throughout the sales process, is extremely powerful and something we’ll be practicing regularly throughout your SalesGym experience. We cannot emphasize enough how big an impact mastery of this approach will have on your sales results.
And remember, open-ended transition questions are the most important element of the CHET process. Eliminating the repetitive use of closed-ended questions will increase your sales and make the entire sales process less stressful and more engaging for both you and your prospects.
End with a Question
Open-ended transition questions are the most important element of the CHET process. Eliminating the repetitive use of closed-ended questions will increase your sales and make the entire sales process less stressful and more engaging for both you and your prospects. At this stage of the conversation, the best questions are often open-ended and easy for the client to react to. Here are a few examples:
Example Open-ended Questions:
- What do you like most about your current IT provider and what capabilities do you wish they had that would be even more helpful to you and your IT team?
- What kind of IT expertise would be helpful for you and your IT team?
- Could you share with me what IT projects and upgrades you’re considering over the next 12-months?
- It might be good to pause for a moment and it would be helpful to hear from you about some of the IT projects you’re doing now where you could use a little extra problem solving expertise?
Putting It All Together
Let’s take a look at what an example C-H-E-T response might look like when we put it all together. Let’s say we are a Digital Marketing Agency and in a conversation with a potential prospect, they turn and ask:
“At the end of the day, how can Ingram Micro help me in ways my current provider can’t?”
Your C-H-E-T Response:
I really appreciate you asking that question and that’s the same question I would be asking if I was in your position …
There are a number of reasons why our clients choose us over our competitors, but probably the number one reason I hear most often is, the IT expertise on our Ingram Micro team helps them solve problems in cost effective ways they could never have done in the past …
I was talking to an IT Director at a large Accounting firm we work with who switched to Ingram Micro about a year ago and he said something to me you might find very helpful. He said, “you know Jim, I was in a meeting with two of my project managers this week and they were extremely complimentary of the network security expert on your team you put them in contact with. They told me he listened, understood our problem and gave our team advice and suggestions that went way beyond just selling us more networking hardware and we ended up with a more cost-efficient solution as a result. They said it was like having an extreme expert right there on our team and it made all the difference to the security upgrades we were making. And that’s just not something we’ve ever gotten from other IT providers we’ve worked with.”
And if you talk to our customers, you’re going to hear that over and over. It’s our expertise that we put to work for you to help you solve IT problems in creative, cost saving ways that really separates Ingram Micro from our competitors.
It might be good to pause for a moment and it would be helpful to hear from you about some of the IT projects you’re doing now where you could use a little extra problem solving expertise?
Hear an audio example:
As you can see from the example above, we start with a nice Cushion so the prospect feels like it’s ok that they asked the question. We then position one of our main company Headlines or competitive advantages from the voice of our best customers. From there we Explain that “Headline” using more of the voice of our best customers so it sounds less “salesy” and builds our credibility. And finally, we ask a clear, open-ended Transition Question that relates to our Headline to keep the conversation moving in the right direction and to stay in control of the discussion.
How to prepare for a fantastic practice session ...
The practice session with your SalesGym coach will be fast-paced and will give you an opportunity to hear and learn from your peers while improving your ability to use Ingram Micro headlines, customer-oriented phrasing and relevant, engaging questions. To prepare for the best possible experience, we suggest the following:
- Think of a prospect or possibly a customer you know reasonably well. This should be a person you’ve met, asked questions of and understand their needs. This will help you more realistically practice with a tailored response.
- Download the worksheet and use it to prepare your CHET response(s) as though you were speaking to that prospect or customer you’ve identified.
- It’s best not to script out your response word-for-word, but put bullet points that help you focus on the message you want to communicate. This exercise is about communicating in a conversational and natural way.
- Remember, the transition question at the end of the CHET process is extremely important. Avoid closed-ended questions. Think of a question that connects directly to your headline and ideally, helps expose a need or pain point the prospect/customer might have.