Align with the Buying Process: The Power of the Mantra
Categories: Sales Conversation
Many of our Command of the Message® alumni use the phrase "The Mantra”. The Mantra is a saying that we use to ensure the sales team is aligned to the buyer around their current state, what they're trying to achieve with a solution (Positive Business Outcomes) and what's required to get there (Required Capabilities).
Regardless if you’re a Command of the Message client or not, you need a mechanism that ensures when you talk about your solution, it’s meaningful to the client. What’s important to the client is the negative consequences they’re currently experiencing, the positive business outcomes they’re looking to achieve and the required capabilities to achieve them. Anything else is just noise. The more you concentrate on information outside of those buckets, the more you demonstrate that you don’t listen, don’t understand the business and you’re probably going to sound expensive.
When we talk about the Mantra, we aren’t talking about your elevator pitch. It’s the exact opposite. It is a customized conversation about a specific client that continues to morph and build over time using all of the conversations we have with the client capturing their words, thoughts, ideas, etc. Here are a few ways we use this type of phrasing.
What We’ve Heard
We teach our salespeople to begin every follow-on meeting with “what you heard”. It’s a great way to get everyone up to speed and ensure that what we heard on last call is still valid. It also gives you the opportunity to dive into further discovery with those you’ve met with in the past, using questions like:
- “Has anything changed?
- What else have you discussed since our last meeting?
For those that are new to the conversation, we use The Mantra to align their perspectives. Get the conversation started with:
- Let’s talk about what these issues and outcomes look like from where you sit in the organization.
- What are you seeing that we haven’t captured in our previous discussions?
It’s even a way for you to insert a point of view if there’s something you haven’t yet heard but you’re pretty sure is present for this client.
Push for the Next Steps
At the end of the meeting, you want to be sure you’ve captured everything. Reiterating those negative consequences, PBOs and required capabilities is one way to ensure the whole team is on the same page. It’s also a great way to set up the appropriate ask for the next meeting.
· E.g., “We’ve added a couple more challenges and some critical business outcomes to the conversation today. How do we ensure that the other members of your team, CIO, etc. have their thoughts and critical issues captured in this storyboard?”
Enabling Internal Conversations about Your Solution at Your Company and at the Prospect's Company
This type of phrasing (negative consequences, PBOs, required capabilities) can be very effective in an email to help socialize the story with the entire decision-making team at the prospect account. Giving your champion or key account contact a tool to help have internal conversations about your solution can be an effective way to earning buy-in from other decision makers.
A tool that outlines these can also help you within your own company. Remember, sometimes getting the deal down internally is hard. Imagine communicating a specific client deal internally this way and the understanding that it can drive AND the coaching it can help create (Hey, looks like your deal is highly technical right now and that’s good because we must get the technical win, but HOW do we get the business conversation into this story? Who do we need to get access to? How do we do that? Let me help you.)
Continue the Business Conversation
The Mantra is never “done.” It’s always morphing! After a couple calls with a client, I always ask my reps to start sharing their own mantra. I don’t have an expectation that it’s perfect, and all the components are nailed. I want to know what we’ve learned so that I can coach them to success.