Companies are filled with stories that advance their goals or hold them back. The messages that don’t work are typically not simplified so the company’s audience can understand their story and its value. Or, sometimes, the story is understood, but not its value.
As a director who consults in the corporate sector, I’m often called on to streamline complex messages into something that can sell and educate.
While there are many tricks learned from experience, there are a few things each employee can do to help their customer understand their story and its value to them. Here are the three steps for employees that are easiest to implement.
When your competitor has an opportunity to listen to the customer, they listen through the filter of how they can angle one of their solutions to meet most of the customer’s needs. They are more about winning than building the relationship through effective answers that help.
To truly serve the customer, the employee has to listen to “why” there is a need. Listening carefully will also give the employee an understanding of several “whats” and “hows” the customer may have already explored. These give the employee clarity on why the customer has a need, the steps taken to date in search of an answer, and why the current answers won’t work.
This information positions the employee to guide the customer into being their own hero.
Float the Ideal
Based on what was learned about the customer’s journey, the employee can suggest or test out what the ideal solution might look like. When floating an ideal solution that may or may not be possible, the customer immediately knows if the employee truly understands the need and the direction they are interested in heading.
No matter how good the listener, the customer usually corrects certain aspects of the ideal. This might be due to the employee missing something, or the customer realizing after hearing the ideal solution, that they want something a bit different than they originally thought. The employee can alter the ideal and float another possible solution.
Focus on Gains, NOT Gaps
After understanding what the customer’s ideal solution looks like, the employee can now determine what products and services the company offers that can give specific gains to the customer. It is critical that the employee also mention what they can’t specifically address in the ideal solution. These gaps can be used for future discovery with the customer and the development of new solutions.
Also, by being upfront with the customer about the gaps, the employee is given more trust, which will help with upselling and any future solutions. Most competitors won’t be honest about the gaps and try to pull one over on the customer, hoping they’ll forget the stunt when future needs arise.
Too Close to See the Big Picture
When employees listen, float ideals, and focus on gains, the customer is endeared to the employee. This empowerment will position the employee for great success. However, not all employees understand the value of their role or know how to adjust for faster growth.
Should an employee be too close to see the big picture and is therefore unable to adjust their next steps, bringing in a director to simplify the message is prudent. Directors are observant, understand the human condition that drives decisions, and are experts at crafting simple messages that will help your audience understand your story and its value.
In summary, the company that educates its employees on the above three steps will see an increase in revenue, trust, and understanding. Training costs are minimal, and the benefits far exceed the revenue that a simple message can drive.
Copyright © 2023 by CJ Powers