One challenge that we are all not immune to is a downturn in business…and this often leads us down the path of what am I doing wrong.
As someone that has spent the bulk of my career in sales and marketing, I understand that more often than not the old adages of “not having the money,” or “this not being the right time” are usually not absolutely true. They are true in the context of the value you are expressing, but they aren’t absolutes.
Which leads me to the big answer to the big question of what am I doing wrong when I am in a slump…
Most of the time, you aren’t communicating your value in a compelling way.
Every professional conversation we have should be built on the back of the tangible value that we are looking to add or achieve.
For some of us that is easier said than done, but no matter if you have trouble with the concept or not, thinking about it and applying some of these ideas will pay real dividends.
1. How does your product or service improve your prospect’s life?
For a moment I want you to rewind your last prospect conversation and ask yourself whether or not the conversation revolved around ways that you would save time, money, or make money?
Or, did the conversation generally move more towards the actions you were going to take like designing a brochure, writing copy, installing an IT system, etc.?
If you did more of the first, you are in a good position because you are talking value.
If you did more of the latter, you are talking about actions and actions can easily become commodities. Which you never want to become.
To improve your value statement, can you quantify some of the improvements you help your clients’ achieve?
“We improved our clients inbound marketing leads by 15% in 3 months.”
“We identified process improvements that saved our clients 50 man hours a week and cut their labor costs by 5%.”
Those are two examples, but think about how you can do the same.
2. Are you speaking the right language to your prospects?
One challenge we have when we are discussing value is that our topics fall on deaf ears.
Here’s an example, let’s say your target customer is the CEO…that is going to be a much different value conversation than one you might have with the CMO or the VP of Sales.
So when you are directing your value proposition at your target, are you having the right conversation and using the kind of language that will have a positive impact for you and help you achieve the kinds of conversations you want.
To use the CEO as an example, can you talk about “revenue growth,” “profitability,” “improved customer retention,” or some other meaningful expression of value?
3. Are you missing your mark?
By this I mean, are you going to where your potential clients are?
It seems like a simple thing, we have so many marketing and content tools now that we can fall into the trap of just spewing our message to any audience that will have us.
But the truth of the matter is that more likely than not, by not targeting our marketing and value messages, we are missing our most likely buyers and we aren’t delivering the value message that we want to have the conversations we need to have to have success in our revenue efforts.
To overcome this challenge, it takes a bit of effort and thought.
First, you need to make sure you are locked down on what the tangible value you are providing is. This is the most basic building block of anything strategic and sales based.
Second, you need to understand who your buyer is and what is important to that buyer.
Finally, you need to spend some time understanding what that buyer uses to make decisions and how you can be a trusted resource for that buyer and not just a mass marketer.
What this means in practical terms is that if your potential buyers read a certain magazine, how do you get your message and value in that magazine? Write? Interview?
Do they attend one conference a year that has one specific focus? Can you attend? Produce a roundtable discussion? Or, speak on a panel?
Do they make many of their decisions based on the referrals of their trusted colleagues? Do you have a referral plan in place? Do you know any of these trusted colleagues? Is there a way that you can get in front of these kind of colleagues?
In the end, your slumps and ups and downs are likely driven by a loss of focus on the core value you create and deliver for your clients.
A lot of times it becomes obvious in hindsight, and hopefully these questions and ideas will give you a little help in shorting the time that you are not focusing on the value you provide.
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