One of the first challenges you face in the world of any sales - and it's true also in Same Side Selling - is how do I attract someone's attention early on in the sales process? Because you may have amazing products and services, but what are you doing to actually attract someone's attention? And you know that one of the core principles of Same Side Selling, is that we're not trying to convince them, they're trying to convince us. And instead of the idea of showing up to sell, we're showing up to solve. So how do we do that?
Well, we're going to use a concept we talk about in Same Side Selling called the 'Same Side Pitch'. The Same Side Pitch follows this model of entice, disarm, and discover. So first we entice interest by sharing problems that we solve with dramatic or extraordinary results. Then we disarm the notion that we're just there to sell something by acknowledging that not everyone's a good fit for us. And then we trigger a discovery phase to learn more about their situation, to see if we can help.
But the first step in this is the elevator rant, meaning the problems that we solve. And here's the scenario of the elevator rant. Instead of thinking about what you can describe about your products and services,
I want you to imagine two people from your ideal client and they're just talking to one another. Now you happen to be in the same building with them and you got on the elevator and it's just you and the doors are about to close in the elevator and right before they do someone sticks their arm in and the doors spring, open and two people representing your ideal client, get on the elevator with you, the doors close behind them and now for the entire ride up to let's say the 10th floor, they're complaining to one another about something that when you hear it, you think, man, nobody is better at solving that problem than we are.
In fact, they're lucky to be on the elevator with us. What would it sound like in their words that would tell you, wow, I can really help them. Now let me give you a couple of examples. Let's say you were an IT services firm, so you might think that the ideal elevator rant would be someone gets on and says, "Man, I gotta tell ya, we Googled 'IT services firm' and nothing came up. If only we could find an IT services firm." 🙂
The problem is that that's not realistic. Instead what you have to think about is if someone didn't have the right IT firm, if someone didn't have the right IT resources internally, what kind of problems would they be describing?
So let's say you're an IT services firm that services law firms. So two partners for a law firm wouldn't say, Oh, we can't fund an IT services firm. Instead what they might say is, "Man! I'm sick and tired of us losing work and losing billable hours because our systems go down." They might say, "I'm so frustrated being embarrassed with a client because we can't find a file because something on our network didn't operate the way it was supposed to. We didn't have access to things remotely and now we look bad and we could lose that client."
See the elevator rants often don't describe your service at all. In fact, it's more describing the kind of problems that you're good at solving almost independent of the solution itself. So if you're a large enterprise software company, and let's say you were selling a large enterprise ERP system, your ideal client wouldn't say, "If only we could find an enterprise resource and planning vendor because none of them contact us." That's not the case.
Instead, you might say, "I'm really frustrated that we don't have insight into our supply chain, into our customer orders to know what products we should be producing. And by the time we get an order, we can't fulfill that. So we're losing revenue and it's killing our market share and our share price." That's what the rants would sound like.
Now the important thing is that the elevator rants have to rise to a certain level of importance. See, if your elevator rant 0 to 10 rises to a level of a 5 then you might find it's important, but the client probably isn't going to spend money to solve it. And when I've worked with CEOs and executives, I often survey them and say, how many of you would spend serious money on a problem that 0 to 10 rose to a level of a 5 and no one's hands go up. 6, 7 and until I hit 8, the hands don't go up.
But at 8, 9 and 10 all the hands are up. So the elevator rant has to be at an 8, 9 or a 10. Now, this is an exercise you can do with colleagues where you start trying to describe what kind of problems you solve and then you'll test it with your clients and prospects. In fact, you can call a relatively recent client and say, Hey, here are some of the ways we're planning to describe the problems we solve. What do you think of those? Now, most organizations will come up with six or seven different elevator rants that then feed into this construct of what I call the Same Side Pitch. And the Same Side Pitch once again, has a structure of entice, disarm, and discover, and the format goes like this.
Our clients come to us when (fill in your elevator rants here) for the right organizations, they tell us we deliver amazing solutions to address those issues, but (and here comes the disarm part) not everyone we talk to is the right fit for how we solve that sort of a problem. So I don't yet know if we can help you, but if solving that problem is important to you, (here comes a discover) I'd be happy to learn more to see if we might be able to help. See by taking the approach of leading with the problems we solve and then describing that we deliver great results, but not everyone's a fit for us, then we trigger the discovery phase. What we're doing is we're enticing someone's interest with problems that we solve. If they don't have one of those problems, it's probably not a good fit right now. It doesn't mean you'll never do business with them. So the elements you need to work on is first the elevator rants. You'll probably come up with six or seven of them over time and then practice the Same Side Pitch of entice, disarm, and discover.
Now the Same Side Pitch can be delivered in different pieces. So for example, someone might come to you at a networking event and say, what do you do? And in my business I might say, well businesses usually come to me when they have a message that falls on deaf ears. They have sales cycles that take too long or their clients and prospects focus on price instead of value. And then I can leave it there and they go, Oh, tell me a little bit more about it. Oh well you know we have great results for the right businesses, but candidly, not every company we talk to is the right fit for how we solve that. I don't yet know that I could solve that for you. Are you facing one of those issues? And if they say yes, I am, great, then I'd love to learn more about your situation to see whether or not we might be able to help. So recognize that the same side pitch doesn't have to be delivered in one continuous piece, but it is important to have a collection of these elevator rants. And before you meet with a potential client, what you want to do is think about which two or three rants would fit best for that prospect.
Stay tuned for the next lesson.
Here we look at how to attract a prospect’s attention early on in the sales process using the Same Side Pitch. Learn how listening to the frustrations of clients about the important problems that we can solve can have a powerful impact on gaining attention.
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