The Sales V is a way of giving a product demo to a prospect, relevant to my process of pre-qualifying leads pre-demo. The steps of Earning the Right, Finding the Need, Creating the Need, and Selling the Solution before setting appointments for a demo are critical in moving a sales opportunity forward. In many cases, being sure to follow the Sales V formula can be even more important before the demo, as the prospect is still unsure of whether they want to view our product/service at all. This is where it’s important to Earn the Right well before an appointment is set on the calendar.
Below is a way of utilizing the Sales V as a recipe for your success.
Earn the Right to the Sales V
• Introduce myself and who I’m representing. This is usually as simple as, “Hi John, this is Chris with Upland PowerSteering, how are you today?”
2. Breaking the Ice
• Ideally, I’m calling a company that has already expressed interest in our product. In cases like these, bringing up the content they downloaded, the workshop they attended, or the conference they visited is an icebreaker that paves the way for the rest of the conversation.
• Many times, on straight cold calls we don’t have the luxury of being able to break the ice in this manner – this is where courtesy and tone is vital. I acknowledge to the prospect that the call is unexpected and apologize for catching them off guard. This helps alleviate the default cold-cally/robotic responses from the prospect and can make them more open to continuing the conversation.
3. Focus Statement (Demonstrate reason for the call)
• Do your homework. Know the company, the prospect’s name, their position, and most importantly the use-case that applies to them. Integrating all 4 of those things within a two-sentence Focus Statement will show the prospect you’re not here to sell Cutco knives. You know who they are and respect their time and their position.
4. Set the Agenda / First Soft Close
• For me, this is simply asking them an open-ended question to move the conversation forward. If I have done the previous steps properly, I will have earned the right to ask them the first open-ended question to get this call moving.
Find the Need
Now that the ice is broken and we’re in the real conversation, it’s time to start finding the prospect’s pain points and current challenges. Here’s where we can not only start qualifying the lead, but also collect the information needed to demonstrate the value of our solution to the prospect. My questions are fairly simple:
•What tools are you currently using?
•What are the challenges you’re running into with those tools?
•Are you using multiple solutions to get everything that you need?
•How many users need access to your system?
Create the Need / Sell the Solution
Now that I’m armed with this information, I use active listening to repeat their pain points and show that I understand their situation. Then I casually list the reasons why our tool can solve those issues.
“So you’re currently using Excel, Microsoft Projects, and SharePoint with about 150 users total. You don’t get the visibility you’d like, and there’s no real way to track the progress of various department’s deadlines on a single project. Now, I can tell you that our product has the capabilities of all 3 programs you’re currently using which will consolidate your reporting, and we have the tracking features you mentioned native on our platform. Is that something you think would benefit your PMO?”
Getting the soft close here (the prospect saying “yes”) makes it more likely to get the appointment set and go for the big ask.
The Big Ask
“If it makes sense, I can send you a calendar invite for a quick conversation with one of our Account Executives to go over your needs in more depth. They’ll be able to answer any product-specific questions you have, and they can help get a demo set up for you if you’re interested. Does that work for you?”
Using the Sales V process should dramatically increase the chances of moving this Ask to a Close. We’ve earned the right to talk with them, listened to their current challenges, demonstrated the value of our solution, and finally we’ve offered to move the conversation forward in a productive and respectful way. If they’re on board at this point, it’s time to Close.
Closing out the Sales V
Heather’s Sales V Training listed the 5-Step Follow-Up process. I’ve modified them to fit my personal pre-qual appointment setting process.
1. Where do we go from here / when should we speak again?
“What’s a good time for you next week?”
2. What needs to happen between now and then?
“I’ll include some more information on my solution in the invitation.”
3. Who else will be involved?
“Feel free to circulate this to anyone else in your organization that would be relevant to the discussion.”
4. What do you need from me?
“Let me know if you need anything else before the call.”
5. What will we be hoping to accomplish on our next call?
(Has already been established at this point)
After the invite is sent I plan accordingly and do everything set up my Account Executives for success. This includes an Initial Qualification email to the team, Salesforce entries and edits, sending reminder emails and contact information, etc.
As a sales manager once told me, “You’re selling the sizzle, not the steak.” Which is very true, but selling the sizzle is still a sales process, and using the Sales V has absolutely helped me to ensure my client is set up properly to close the deal on that steak.