Powerful and persuasive sales conversations always include success stories that show how products or services have specifically worked for past customers or clients. Your prospective client might be trained to resist a sales pitch, but no one can resist a good story.
When it comes to using success stories in your sales conversations:
- How do you sell to competing companies within the same industry?
- What happens when you can’t mention a past client by name?
- What’s the best way to share past success stories? Tell them, or use testimonials?
I answer these questions and more in this conversation with audience members at one of my sales training events:
Q: What should I do when I deliver a sales presentation to a competitor within an industry I’ve worked in before? For example, if I’ve worked with one social media company and now my prospective client is another social media company, how do I deal with the competition there? How do I approach this in my sales presentation?
I worry that the prospective client might think, “If she gives her tips to me, is she giving the same tips to somebody else?”
Patricia Fripp: There’s more than one way to look at this. It can be an advantage for potential clients to know you’ve worked with others within their same industry.
Your prospective client might realize:
- “Our competition is benefiting from this. We need it too!”
- “She has experience in our industry. We won’t have to train her.”
How often have you heard a remark like, “I recently hired this developer and I’ve had to spend forever just explaining what it is we do!”
On the other hand, it’s possible for a potential client to make a case against doing business with someone who has worked with competitors within the same industry.
If you can share past results and successes to demonstrate a clear benefit to the prospective client, you shouldn’t be overly concerned. Also, if you can give examples of successful outcomes in other industries, share these as well to demonstrate that you are multifaceted.
Q: What should I do if a company doesn’t want you to name them as a client? How would you talk about them to a prospective client?
Patricia Fripp: There are many industries where we cannot publicly identify our clients. Financial service companies, for example, cannot name their clients.
Even if you cannot name a past or current client, you can paint a back-story that your prospective client will identify with and understand. For example, you might refer to a past client as, “a manufacturing company in the Midwest that does x-number in sales annually.” Without naming names, this gives the prospective client a level of comfort with your experience.
Q: What if a prospective client brings up the fact that we haven’t worked in their niche industry before?
Patricia Fripp: If a prospective client considering my sales presentation training asks me, “Patricia, have you delivered sales presentation training in the widget industry?”
The answer is, “It does not matter what the industry is. The process of transforming sales presentations is the same.”
Some prospective clients consider it a disadvantage when you have zero experience in their niche industry. My friend, Alan Weiss, the author of Million Dollar Consulting would counter with a response like this, “It’s true, I know nothing about the widget industry… but, you’ve got so many experts – and still, you don’t have the market share you want. You have enough experts. You need someone from the outside.”
Q: “Do you recommend the use of video testimonials or testimonial letters? Or, is it better to just a third-person success story in your sales presentation?
Patricia Fripp: You must include true client success stories in your sales presentations. That being said, I am also in favor of all types of testimonials.
In middle of a sales conversation, you probably shouldn’t ask, “Hey, can you pull up YouTube and watch my three dozen testimonials?”
Instead, leave testimonials with your prospective client and say, “Obviously, you need the security of knowing that we’ve been consistently successful for over two decades.
In this packet we’re leaving with you, there’s a list of the 16 different industries we’ve served in the last five years, as well as testimonials, and the names and contacts of past clients who will welcome your calls if you need a personal reference.”
Become a great presenter quickly, easily, and cost-effectively on your own schedule. I’m here for you 24/7 through Fripp Virtual Training.
“At three different companies I have watched Patricia Fripp work her sales presentation magic. At First American Home Warranty, it is no surprise that she has done it again. After seeing her in person, my team was buzzing about diving into FrippVT. Patricia always delivers on everything she promises. I am grateful and excited to bring her talents to our company. I truly love working with her as she helps me take our group to the next level.”
– Tracy Berger, Senior Vice President Sales, First American Home Warranty
Join FrippVT today!
Make Your Sales Presentations Powerful & Persuasive
Just a few of the of the many complimentary resources on Fripp.com to help you and your sales team:
- When A New Relationship Is Worth Millions
- How to Make a Sale by Making Your Questions Count
- Story Strategy to Improve Your Sales Presentations
- 8 Steps to Structuring An Outstanding Sales Presentation
- How You Can Solve “Who Cares?” Syndrome in Your Sales Presentations
- Sales Presentations – How to Be Clear & Concise: Start with Structure
- How to Use You-Focused Language to Connect with Clients and Prospects
- Are You Making Any of These 12 Biggest Mistakes Commonly Made in Sales Presentations?
Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.