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"Message-the-moment" to Respond to Customer's Changing Needs

Prospecting

improve customer conversations

February 15, 2022Article

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Selling to Your Customer's Changing Needs

Engaging the buyer means messaging the moment, but today the moment passes faster than ever. Therefore, sellers need agility to learn what kind of messaging will speak to the customer’s most current needs. 

Building this kind of agility is difficult because businesses are changing faster than ever. They are reshaping their core competencies in response to disruptions that are increasing and becoming more intense. 

The latest data from the IMF World Uncertainty Index concludes that levels of uncertainty today are higher than they have ever been. The research also found that uncertainty is self-perpetuating because “uncertainty spikes are more synchronized in advanced economies.” Similarly, the Federal Reserve Board Geopolitical Risk Index is the highest it has been in more than fifteen years. 

This setting presents a key challenge for sales professionals: They must deliver messaging that resonates with customers in a changing environment. Succeeding in this task requires the simplicity of a three-part approach provided here. This structure can be applied to any business undergoing change. The value of this approach is that it is sequential. Each part flows into the next. 

Learn more about an agile sales methodology by downloading the white paper: The Future of Sales is Agile - Introducing Sprint Selling

How to "Message-the-Moment" to Capture the Lead's Attention

Messaging the moment does more than capture the lead’s attention; it proves to the lead that the sales professional truly understands them and can even help them clarify the nature of their challenge.

Explore the Customer's Approach to Change Management

Stakeholders can no longer respond to change episodically. As change becomes ever-present leaders are developing change management plans that dictate how the business will react. Change management has become so common that it carries many names. Some businesses call it “resilient transformation.” Others have called it “transient advantage.” The names differ but the idea is the same: the rate of change is increasing, and leader’s need a plan. 

The sales professional’s first job is to understand the lead’s approach to change. Has the customer adopted an agile approach to change management? Or have they settled on a multi-stage model? It is important to answer this question because change management often reflects the way a customer approaches decision-making. 

Knowing the customer’s decision-making process is critical because it equips the seller with three pieces of information: 

  • Who are the stakeholders?
  • What are their responsibilities?
  • What is their individual decision-making authority? 

Using the customer’s change management as a proxy for their buying decision process gives the seller freedom. It allows them to ask questions that might otherwise appear too intrusive to the customer. For example, asking an organization how they embrace change is less self-serving than asking them how they will approach a buying decision. 

Change management is top-of-mind to stakeholders today. Therefore, most leaders will have plenty of information to share. Learning these details enables the sales professional to unfold the map of the stakeholders’ thought processes and strategic planning. Change management touches on the business’ purpose, direction, and scalability.

The Bottom Line: If the seller knows even a little about the customer’s change management style, they know a lot about the way they make decisions.

Understand the Customer's New Economic Operational Drivers

Change management influences the business’ economic and operational drivers. These drivers are the metrics a company uses to measure how well they manage change. For example, most businesses have made resilience a major part of their change management strategy. Therefore, they focus on metrics that measure resilience. One such metric is growth because “transformations that accelerate growth, in aggregate, improve total resilience,” according to a data set of more than 1,200 corporations from BCG . 

The customer’s change management reveals drivers. Those drivers reveal the messaging topics that resonate. In this example, the connection between resilience and growth is important because it shows the seller that they need a message focused on growth. 

Today, the economic and operational drivers that are important to businesses are largely connected to change management because so much is in flux. This is the reason why there are so many initiatives focused on digital transformation, more sophisticated use of data for forecasting, diffused decision-making for faster response time, and greater flexibility within the supply chain.

Each business has a different set of drivers, but nearly all center around flexibility. Leaders need solutions that not only address the present. They need solutions that address the future. Developing messaging that speaks to these needs often means articulating the adaptive and scalable features of the product or service. 

Sellers need to remember that different stakeholders will be compelled by different drivers. The messaging must weave these differences together so that all stakeholders feel understood. Messaging the moment is the art of finding the words that are on the tip of the customer’s tongue. 

The Bottom Line: The economic and operational drivers that matter to most businesses today are those that offer adaptability as more organizations embrace transformation.

Make It Clear and Concise

The customer’s change management and drivers help the seller develop the content of the message. Next, they must develop the communication of that message so that it is concise. Using concise language not only communicates respect for the listener’s time but also advances the dialogue by getting to core issues fast.

One of the most effective ways to keep the message concise is to avoid excessive prefacing. Often a preface is used to justify whatever statement or question follows. As a result, the message lacks confidence. Customers appreciate and respect direct communication. 

Learn how to ensure your communication with clients is concise and effective by downloading the brief: Selling with Simple Powerful Messaging

Sellers can also keep the message concise by signaling the structure. Doing so means stating the key points that follow. Some call this approach “signposting.” This structured style keeps the message short because it does not require the communicator to attempt to transition from one point to the next – a practice that quickly makes the message long. Stating the structure upfront allows the freedom to cover the key topics in a quick sequence. 

Signaling the structure also anchors the individual to a framework that prevents drifting from the core message. This approach is for the communicator as much as it is for the audience. 

To signal the structure the sales professional can state that they have “three key reasons” for something or that they want to cover the “two main ideas” behind something. Statements like these put the listener at ease because they know that the following message will be brief, organized, and easy to follow. 

The Bottom Line: Signposting and the avoidance of excessive prefacing works to keep the message concise which puts the listener’s interests first.

Find Your Agility and "Message-the-Moment" with Sprint Prospecting

Capturing the lead’s attention means messaging the moment by speaking to the customer’s most current needs. 

Sales teams learn how to do so with our Sprint ProspectingTM program which offers a clear, repeatable, and structured approach consisting of a prepare – engage – advance pattern. This movement embraces the dynamic nature of prospecting and integrates specific techniques, skills, and tools to progress each interaction. 

Sprint ProspectingTM works because it moves alongside the customer’s changes and even benefits from new, and unexpected information. As details emerge the sales professional gains more insight into the customer’s needs. As a result, they can improve their prospecting by delivering focused messaging. 

To learn more about this solution, download the Sprint ProspectingTM training program brochure or click here to contact us and schedule a meeting with one of our experts.

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