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Jan. 18, 2022

94: 3 tips if you struggle to build a connection with a prospect in a first meeting

Why do we struggle with building a connection with a prospect and then keeping their attention? Check out this episode for practical strategies on how you can overcome this barrier:-  

  1. The no-pitch, pitch deck
    • Every point you want to make should start with thinking about the customer first
  2. The no-pitch demo
    • Avoid death by feature list...connect them with others. Tell them that's how other people, just like you, think about this and what they like about what we do.
  3. Storytelling
    • Never underestimate the power of storytelling and how it creates strong connections with your prospect

If you are a sales leader at a startup, or you're in the sales team, and you're searching for your repeatable scalable sales process to grow sales faster, then please get in touch with me at andrew@unstoppable.do or you can also go to my site at www.unstoppable.do.

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[ WARNING: the accuraacy of grammer and spelling in this transcript is a reflextion on the tool used to cre8te it, not the host or producerss of this episoude.]

Welcome to the sales Bluebird podcast, where we believe that is plain wrong. That sales teams at startups don't get the help to succeed like sales teams do at their bigger and more well-known competitors. If you're a seller or a sales leader at a B2B startup, especially if it's in the cybersecurity space, you're in the right place today. I am your host, Andrew Monahan, and welcome to episode 94. 

[00:00:35] Now I'm recording this podcast episode in the middle of January, 2022 here in Colorado. It's a actually surprisingly warm day. And if you'd been following along, I had my mom and my sister here over the all days. They've now flown home to the UK, my sister to London and my mum back up to Scotland. It was great to have them here. And be with them and now a life is back to just the family, the house, and everyone working away. Girls at school and life continuing. 

[00:01:07] This episode today is all about how not to lead with ourselves, how not to lead with our product when we're describing or talking about things, you know, how, when you're on a call and you feel like you're in full on pitch mode all about us, right?

[00:01:31] This is what we do, and this is how we do it. And let me show you how we do it. And isn't that great how we do it and look at this feature and that feature and here's this about us and here's our funding. It feels like. If you sit back that it's all about us and how we're conducting the conversation.

[00:01:49] And actually what happens is that the, the prospect feels like we're talking at them and there's sometimes a lack of connection. Or from their side, there's a bit of a disconnection with the message with us, with the meeting, things like that, right there. They're kind of gone into a silent mode themselves taking in only a little bit about what we're saying and waiting to hear something that might interest.

[00:02:15] I remember a few years ago I was working with an SE and by the way, this happens with a SES, a hands with AEs. It happens with everyone. And, uh, we had this meeting at a financial company. And I remember, you know, the purpose of the meeting was I think the demo meeting, because it was the role of the SE to give the demo and lead a lot of the discussion.

[00:02:40] And I remember during the call, I was feeling a little bit uneasy about how much of it was all about us and, you know, and then we do this and we do that. And, and here's another thing that we do and. I, I dunno. I, I felt uneasy.

[00:02:54] When we came out of the call, the first thing the se said was God, I was on fire. I was a great. Right. And I had to kind of take a step back and just, you know, I don't want to burst their ball bubble really, but I obviously I wanted to get the feedback. So I had to give kind of delicate feedback about how it felt like to me a little bit different. Right. And, uh, I can't remember actually quite what the response was from the se. 

[00:03:23] I'll tell you another example. I remember I wasn't involved in this, but I heard about it afterwards is that at a company. And we got a meeting with the, either the SIS or maybe the CIO at one of the major banks. And it was only a half hour meeting at our head of sales and probably the RVP and also the, the AAE went in to meet with.

[00:03:47] The, the, the person, uh, the Cisco or the CIO and they prepped for the meeting. And here's the things that, you know, are hot topics and all the rest of it. And they walk in and, you know, these are experienced and really good salespeople. After 20 minutes, the CIO or the CISOs said, you know, I need to stop you guys.

[00:04:09] And, uh, my question is, at what point are you going to start talking about me? Um, I guess the gone in there and kind of went full on, this is what we're here to talk about and here's what we do and all around. So when we had that in our, our mind that, you know, we've got some things to accomplish and we want to get some points across what often happens is we do become that person that talks all about us.

[00:04:34] Right. And our points are very valid points, not being very impactful. It can lead to us as a to market team. Or if we're in pods with Nancy and Amy, you know, we're not operating our best, we're not being most effective. We've got a chance to shine and we're not doing it for.

[00:04:53] So the question is, you know, how do you talk about ourselves without talking about ourselves? How do you give demos without talking about ourselves all the time? So I've got a couple ideas here for sales teams about how to do this. 

[00:05:07] The first one is all run the pitch, right? The, and this is what I refer to as the no pitch pitch deck, and the way to think about it.

[00:05:14] Challenge yourself to lead into every point you want to make. And every slide with thinking about the customer first, and when I say the customer, it could be in my mind, one of three things, it could be our customers in general. It could be a specific customer that we want to highlight. Or it could be the prospect when you're they've mentioned discovery something, and we want to go back to their specific descriptions about their specific problem.

[00:05:45] Right. If you lead into every point a customer first, and either of those three buckets, that can be very helpful. What it does is it helps connect the message to them, right. It helps them understand and appreciate and connect with us in our message. So how does this translate into real life? Let me give you an idea.

[00:06:08] So, instead of saying. Yeah, whatever point we're making, we do it this way. Uh, our approach to cloud security is to connect in through API APIs, right. Not a terrible way to do it, we, each one is started with, we do it this way. Um, and the second one was our approach, right?

[00:06:30] What we could say instead is something like our customers, like the way that we connect in through API APIs, because it means better visibility and lower workload for our cloud environment. Okay. If we're thinking about their specific problem, we could say you remember when you said you were concerned about any increase in workloads to do cloud security?

[00:06:55] Well, you'll probably appreciate then how we connect through API APIs and that, let me show you how we do that, right. Or you, what you could say is, you know, a specific customer and tell their story like that, and we'll come onto that in a second. So when you're doing the, the no pitch. That's how to think about it.

[00:07:14] Right. And, Just think as you lead into a slide leader to one of the big points you want to make, rather than just lead with, you know, this is the way we do it. Essentially, this is what we want you to hear. Think about how you lead in with thinking about them our other customers like them first.

[00:07:33] And say people like how we do this, it's a subtle thing, but it takes the edge off us always going, this is what we do, and we're really good at it. Right. Which is the way that sometimes it can come across. That was what the pitch deck. 

[00:07:46] Another one is in the demo, right? The no pitch demo, similar idea, right. Lead into every demo point, every demo area, every demo segment, where we lead customer first. Customers in general, a specific customer or their specific problem. Again, it connects the person you're talking to, to what you're about to talk about. So again, you know, don't say here's how we do X or let me just demo to you this feature we have in the bottom right. 

[00:08:16] Um, and that sometimes demos can be like that. They're very much. Let me show you a feature and let me show you another feature. Let me show you one more feature and. You know, becomes, death by feature list almost. Well you could say is, our customers are always looking to make their lives easier.

[00:08:33] And one thing they really appreciate is how we handle this one part of cloud security. Let me show you. Right. So same as the no pitch pitch deck could a concept, but in the demo, right, you're, you're doing this by saying that here's how other people, just like you, think about this and what they like about what we do.

[00:08:58] These are very subtle ways to break up the idea that we're always gonna be talking about us leading with us, talking about our great product. 

[00:09:05] The third thing I've alluded to is using a specific customer. Basically tell a great customer story to lead into as well. Now I think this is especially effective.

[00:09:19] If there's a point in the discussion point in the demo, where is the crux of it right there, big problem, you know, and we've got something that's a solution to that, but we want to make sure it hits home really well. We want to make sure that they really understand the belief that this is something that we've been very thoughtful about and we do very, very well. 

[00:09:45] And that's where you might want to amplify, uh, before you actually get into the meat of it or, uh, before you show them in the demo amplified by using a customer story. Anytime that you're talking about something that is important to talk about and you use a story to do it, it's more believable for one, because it's really not you that's using this or doing this is actually the hero of the story, which of course is the customer. 

[00:10:13] That leads to a better connection between your prospect and what you're about to talk about or show. And it's also being a story more memorable for your prospect, right? They're more likely to walk away the end and a day or two later. Remember that story you told rather than just leading in saying, you know, we do something very well and let me see. 

[00:10:36] So again, don't say, let's talk about X. You know, this is what we do and is we do it very well. Um, and show them actually do a proper customer story. And, you know, we can break down customer stories at a different time, but in general, you know, you want the customer to be the hero of the story you want to name.

[00:10:55] So, when you want to say something like John Smith, the Cicero at XYZ, Inc. He actually had a very similar problem to what you were doing. What he was finding was he was frustrated with these things, A, B and C, you know, he actually fixed his problem by using this one aspect of our product. And a certain way and I'll show you working in a second.

[00:11:17] What it meant for him was that he had these outcomes. He saved money. He did things more efficiently. The process went from five man-days down to one Monday, whatever it was, the outcome was. And he was regarded as someone who really proactively solved the problem and was in high regard. Right. So you tell a great story to lead into it, to show the connection, get the connection and make your points so much more effective when you lead into what we do really well by using this customer story.

[00:11:49] So remember when we're making these points, we don't want to lead all the time with us and our product and start a lot of sentences with we and our and this feature of our product and things like that. 

[00:12:03] There's ways that we can do it that are much more effective by talking about the no pitch pitch deck, the no pitch demo, and using great customer stories to connect our prospects, to what we want to talk about. Talk soon.