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January 30, 2012 / Steve Hennigs

The difficulty of making things simple

I am currently reading a very interesting book called “Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management” by Scott Berkun.  I have found that not only is it helping me to understand how software development and other complicated projects get finished but I have also found that some of the tactics directly relate to a complex sale.

One of the main ideas I believe is having a huge impact on me being a more successful salesperson is being able to take a very complex idea like the benefits of software to assist with web governance and boil it down to some very simple takeaways that can be understood by everyone in a prospect’s organization to the point that they can make an informed decision of whether or not to subscribe to our software.

Simplifying my message has provided me with the following benefits:

  • Being able to convey my offering’s value in a short period of time making for more effective meetings and presentations
  • My message is understood by everyone in the presentation meaning more people believe our software can help them therefore increasing the chance of a sale
  • I can ask more questions and understand the needs of my prospects better because I am not spending time explaining our value

It can be difficult to find the most important points of what you have to offer but the benefits I listed above make it worth the time.  With that in mind here are a few tips to help you simplify your message to more effectively communicate your message.

Know your offering inside and out

The first step to making things simple is making sure you know everything there is to know about your offering.  How can you determine what the most important points are if you do not know all there is to know.  Do not be afraid to ask others in your organization for information.  In many cases engineers, designers, management, etc. can provide you with information much faster than you can figure out for yourself.

Know the industry you are selling to inside and out

This ties in with the first step.  Knowing all there is to know about who you are selling to allows you to determine what the most important points of your offering are to your prospects and customers.  Reading industry publications, blogs and articles is one way to consistently learn more.  The other way is to ask your customers what struggles they have and how your offering has helped them.

Determine the most important points in your offering

Once you know your offering and industry you can make informed decisions on what are the most important points in your offering.  This can be time consuming but do not get discouraged.  All the time spent simplifying your offer will be saved in the future as your meetings are more effective and your sales go up.

Be able to update those important points as you learn more

You cannot spend all your time researching your product and industry (you have to sell too) so as you learn more over time be willing and able to refine your pitch.  In some industries (like software) things constantly change so the main points must be in line with the current needs of the customers.

It can be difficult and time consuming to identify the most important points of your offering but it is worth it.  You will have more effective meetings, get more people from the prospects company on your side and ultimately make more sales.

Do you agree?  What tips do you have to help simplify a message?  As always thanks for reading!

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