Then you’re killing deals.
Recently one of our consultants, Scott Weinhold, was on a tram while connecting flights between client events, and he couldn’t resist sneaking a photo of an airline pilot’s luggage. What caught his eye was the bag tag promoting the pilot’s union. Here was the union’s attempt to create value for themselves:
In case the image is too fuzzy for you to read (this was a “stealth” snap on a phone while the tram was in motion) the tag says, “WE ARE WORTH IT!”
This union message reminded me of the same theme in thousands of marketing and sales pitches happening this very moment. Sales reps rely on “union rules” for delivering messages to communicate the value of their solution. For example: “We have the best technology!” “We have the best people!” “We have the best service!”
In other words, “WE ARE WORTH IT!”
What happens to your prospect or customer when you start telling them why your solutions and your company are “worth it?” Do they grab for their checkbook and say, “How much will that be? We’ve been waiting for someone to come in and tell us how ‘worth it’ they are…”
Charlie Sheen Effect
This type of “union rules” sales messaging approach triggers what I call the “Charlie Sheen Effect.”
Several months ago, Charlie Sheen hosted a webcast of his own (“Sheen’s Korner”). During the first few seconds, over 100,000 attendees logged in. Within four minutes, less than 5,000 remained.
Why over a 95% reduction in attention? Because no one wants to hear boring and irrelevant bragging.
When your prospects and customers see a salesperson present slide after slide of why your company and products are so wonderful, they tune out. Your sales rep’s effort to create value in the mind of your prospect comes across as boring and irrelevant bragging.
Based on our work with hundreds of the largest sales forces, these “WE ARE WORTH IT” sales conversations spread across your organization with no effort at all. They are like a virus. If you do nothing to stop them, these boring and irrelevant sales messages will replicate all on their own.
In fact, unless you’re laser-focused and intentional about equipping your sales force with the right messages, tools, and skills, you can assume at least 80% of your reps will follow “union rules” in their next sales conversation.
Why do “Union Rules Messages” Happen?
It may seem obvious to you. You’ve been told for years you need to be customer centric. So, why do companies continue to create and deliver “union rules” type messaging?
Because it makes companies and salespeople feel good about themselves, the product they are selling and the company they work for. The biggest enemy to great sales messaging is the natural drift of companies to create messaging that fires them up. That gets them jazzed. That rallies the troops.
Have you ever been in a message development session? How do messages get chosen? It’s usually the phrases that get everyone, especially the executives, inside the company excited when they see it on posters, advertisements, billboards, buttons and t-shirts.
But, none of that has anything to do with getting your customers to care. Your prized prospects don’t care about what fires you up. Don’t force them to love your “union rules story.” Save the internal cheerleading for inside the company.