I’ve been taking a class from a renown profession from Emory University entitled “The Art of Teaching: Best Practices from a Master Educator.” I enjoy seeing how he and other professors capture the attention of their students and make their teaching principles stick.
In one lecture, Professor Patrick N Allitt said that professors are not taught how to teach, but rather they learn all the details of a particular field of knowledge, then they are handed a class and told to teach what they know. I think the same is true to some extent of sales; when someone learns enough about a product they are handed a bag and quota and told to sell.
Professor Allitt teaches his students to go back to the basics, and teach them well. He spoke of professors who began the first day of a semester regurgitating an overloaded syllabi of content and then spending the semester speeding through the content hoping the students would memorize all the material and details. His conclusion to this lecture was to “teach less better.” His intention is not to be less better, but to teach less, and to do it better; focus on the basics, then they will have the foundation within themselves to learn the rest in the future.
Sales is the same way. Have you ever noticed how a sales person would pack all the features of their product into a presentation with the hopes that the buyer might see something they like? We have names for this:
“Spray and Pray”
“Show-up and Throw-up”
Remember your buyer will likely only take away three to four things away from your presentation. So if you give them twenty things, what are the chances that they will take away the three things that you really want them to take? Things that you’re really good at, and that competitors can’t do as well. You see the problem!
So as you pull together your presentation and your messages, think what really matters most to your buyer, and what can you do better than anyone else? Now prioritize your presentation down to these three to four messages. This part of the secret to our ArrowHead process… Sell Less Better; sell less, and do it better so it sticks with your buyer.
I like the quote by Antoine de Saint Exupery (author of “Le Petit Prince”). He said, “You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away.” I like it so much I put it on the back of my business card. This simple practice always challenges you to focus on what’s most important.
So next time you’re prepping for an important buyer meeting, bring all you know about the buyer to the table, and narrow your focus to those items that would be most important to them, then zero in on the items that they respond to. If you don’t know what’s most important to them, do better discovery so you can narrow your discussion to those three to four items that are most critical. Put all your efforts around these areas and make them stick; your closing rate will go up, and your story will be much clearer. Remember, sell less better!