This is part of a package on selling to prospects. Read the other part: 5 Things Customers Want to Hear.
So you're on a sales call, and the people listening to you are polite. They nod, ask questions, smile. At least, this is what is happening on the outside.
Inside, they are sleeping, mentally traveling, making lists, and counting minutes until the meeting or presentation ends.
In truth, you are probably droning on about things that are boring to your prospect. Some will have the mercy to tell you to move on, but most will commit the courtesy sin of pretending to listen.
What are the top ways to bore a prospect? Here's what customers tell me they don't want to hear about:
1. Your Company History
Really: No one cares about this but you. If it takes more than 90 seconds to hit the highlights, you are talking to yourself, not to your customer.
Remember this simple rule: Talk to people about what interests them. If you can directly connect the history to this conversation, then do it--but do it fast.
Whether you're citing equipment, locations, awards ... Just stop it.
I recently reviewed a commercial printer's initial presentation materials. The slides included pictures and descriptions of the entire inventory of printing equipment, capabilities, and production specifications. For a technical buyer, maybe you could include this in the leave-behind, but never in the presentation materials. Sure, there may be one person in the room who is interested--but you have lost the interest of the other attendees.
3. Years of Combined Experience
The prospect may want to know about your background; you're the person he or she will be dealing with. But faceless names and their unsubstantiated resumés are background noise.
Don't spend a lot of time on people who are not in the room. For people who are in the room, make three points: Why they are here, what insight the attendees can get from that person, and what that person wants to get from the attendees.
4. What Makes You Different
Whoa! All of the modern selling and marketing wisdom is focused on this powerful concept of differentiating yourself from your competitors. How can I possibly say that your prospect doesn't want to hear your unique value proposition? Isn't the whole point of an initial conversation with a prospect to convince them you are different?
Here's the problem: Your UVP tends to be focused on you. But customers want to know why it's relevant to them and to their business issues. Without the translation, it's just one more set of slides or presentation points in a long, droning monologue.
There's a Better Approach
In the accompanying story, I explain a few things that prospects do want to hear. But there are a few other simple things you can do to make these conversations better.
This clarity, simplicity, and focus on the prospect are what buyers want to see more often.