Perception vs. Reality in the Eyes of a Decision Maker

Every company struggles with finding ways to convey the value of their product or service in an impactful way. The reasons for subpar value proposition can range anywhere from the value of the product being presented in a convoluted or confusing way to not reaching the customer when they are motivated to buy.

In some cases, the mindset or pre-existing biases can cloud the value proposition in a potential customer’s mind. The ability to overcome that destructive perception is key to guiding a potential customer through any sales funnel.

 

Clarity trumps persuasion — and a wrong perception

Anyone who has seen a webinar or attended a summit featuring MECLABS’ Managing Director, Flint McGlaughlin, has most likely heard him say, “Clarity trumps persuasion.” I want to take that one step further and say that there is a great feat in providing enough clarity to trump a wrong perception.

Earlier in my career at MECLABS, I spent time as the Lead Generation Specialist. In that role, our task was to generate sales-ready leads for our partners.

During that time, I was assigned to one of our more difficult partners — a global provider of outsourced investment management services.

My job was to speak with C-level decision makers of non-profit organizations and schedule meetings with one of our partner’s regional directors.

These meetings had one purpose: Communicate the distinguishable benefits of the firm and its outsourcing model to these decision makers. The problem was these DM’s didn’t want to talk to me.

The decision makers were well aware, as was our partner, that switching an investment management provider was an extremely long and involved process, and more often than not, the organization I was speaking with was happy with the status-quo and did not want to consider an alternative approach.

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Their perception was that we were looking to force the organization to switch their investment model after the meeting. This wasn’t the case. Finally, after many rebuttals that weren’t resonating, we started to change our approach and messaging.

 

Address audience concerns upfront

Within the first few moments of the call, we would address the concern we knew the decision maker had before they could even express it.

Instead of trying to immediately describe to the decision maker all of the benefits our partner’s firm may represent, we instead attempted to lessen the anxiety that may have been stemming from the false assumption that we were calling to sell them on a new investment manager.

After this change in approaching the call’s opening, we stated that we were not asking their organization to make a change. We simply wanted the opportunity to lay out some of the core competencies of our firm that potential customers could compare to their current management provider.

Changing our initial messaging caused a significant increase in the amount of sales-ready leads for our partner. Before the change, we were lucky to generate one sales-ready lead per 20 hours of calling.

Now, we were consistently averaging two leads per week through the fourth quarter of 2014.

We were also able to provide our partner with substantial insight into the mindset and concerns of their potential client base.

 

Takeaways

One of the most important factors in presenting product value in an impactful way is overcoming any pre-existing biases or opinions that the potential customer has.

Related:  Repeatable Brand Strategy

It is the responsibility of the seller to address these pre-existing negative opinions in a strong and impactful way to effectively convey the proper value proposition of their product or service.

Failing to do so, no matter the amount of value the product or service represents, oftentimes will result in a failed opportunity and a waste of time and resources.

 

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6 Comments

  1. John Seiffer says

    I get your point. But isn’t 1 lead per 20 hours the same as 2 leads per week?

    1. Eddie Lutz says

      Hi John,
      Great question! We were calling for more than one partner per week, so 20 hrs of calling = 1 week. That is something I should have clarified!

      Thank you,
      Eddie Lutz

  2. sam says

    Great post, this really works if followed through. Perceptions are not always right and the job of a successful organization is correct this while re presenting itself in a real light of it stands for.

  3. John says

    I agree with Eddie. In my experience it is important to make the prospect as comfortable as possible, don’t sell anything and make the call about them. Perhaps an open question like “Have you compared your current product or service with another lately?” If he said “no” then you could have a solution to his un answered question.

  4. Shanaya says

    Great post but in today’s market many agencies gives 100 leads per day. Then how it is possible? or they using any black hat techniques to achieve that leads.

  5. Vincent Kernaghan says

    @Shanaya

    A lead ‘in general’ is not necessarily a ‘qualified’ sales lead. You have to make sure you are truly comparing the EXACT same end result in what you call a lead before you use arbitrary numbers and statements like ‘many agencies’ and ‘100 leads per day’.

    Using black hat or any other techniques to get people to give contact info generates what may be ‘prospects’. Those prospects become leads after they are qualified as potential buyers. When Eddie was generating those leads, he was getting ‘sales-ready’ leads – so I suspect he was also qualifying them as part of his process.

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