All salespeople with a small amount of experience have a 30-second commercial (a.k.a elevator pitch, popcorn introduction, etc.) down pat. And that’s the problem.
Ideally, a 30-second commercial gets us a conversation with a decision maker, typically an executive. However, sometimes we must deliver a 30-second commercial to a non-decision maker, typically a front line employee who will likely become our primary contact if we earn a prospect’s business.
Decision makers, even when they wear many hats, are strategy focused. For a company selling IT services, a strategy-focused 30-second commercial might include problem statements like “wondering how to keep the company running during a natural disaster” or “curious how to manage IT resources when the company is rapidly expanding.”
Non-decision makers tend to by tactically focused. Going back to the IT example, a non-decision maker could be an office manager who is, “frustrated when the network goes down for long periods of time” or “tired of staff complaining that they can’t access their email.”
Even though this office manager is not the ultimate decision maker, they are likely to be a key influencer in who the decision maker will select for IT services.
Delivering a tactical 30-second commercial to a strategy focused decision maker puts you in the “commodity” category and will often get you downshifted to a non-decision maker because the decision maker thinks, “those are problems that my staff handle.”
Delivering a strategic 30-second commercial to a tactical focused non-decision maker shuts down your sales cycle because your non-decision maker thinks, and likely says, “We don’t have any of those problems. We’ve never had a disaster and we’re not rapidly expanding right now.”
The one instance when you would deliver a strategic 30-second commercial to a non-decision maker is if you speak with the executive assistant to the decision maker you are attempting to reach. This executive assistant probably knows about the strategic challenges their boss faces and understands how your business can help.
Before you make your next prospecting calls or attend another networking event, review your 30-second commercial and determine if you are speaking to your prospect’s tactical or strategic focus. Connecting with your prospect at their focus level will get you more conversations, more meetings, and ultimately more closed sales.