Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Wedge Addresses Three Great Weaknesses in Your Sales Technique

Last Time I talked about the powerful Wedge strategy for sales.

A lot of people have responded that they found it to be a very exciting idea.

The best thing about this technique for people who are not "trained" professional sales people is that it's easy to understand and easy to learn.

But there are three other reasons why the wedge technique is particularly good for the SMB Consultant. And they are probably the three great weaknesses in our sales technique.

1. It forces you to be prepared.

As a group, we're pretty lazy sales people. We think we're on a roll when we make ten phone calls.

We go into sales meetings with little or no preparation. After all, most of us have had moderate success by just meeting people and chatting about what we do.

We take our technology seriously, but we don't take our sales skills seriously.

Jim Collins (read Good to Great) makes an excellent point: "Good is the enemy of Great." Moderate success is the enemy of spectacular success!

Crafting a series of carefully worded questions requires us to be prepared for the sales meeting.

2. Practice Makes Perfect.

One of the behaviors of serious, successful sales people is role-playing. I think most adults who don't do any role-playing exercises are extremely reluctant to get started.

This is one of those situations where it is obvious what you need to do, but you don't do it.

It's not comfortable. It feels unnatural. If I can avoid it I will.

Somehow, I'm going to manage to be a serious, successful salesperson without doing one of the things that all serious, successful sales people do.

The wedge technique takes some practice. Even if you end up role-playing with your alter ego, you have to plan how you think the conversation will go.

3. Focus on Benefits, not Features.

I know you've heard this 1,000 times. But we tend to jump in with SharePoint and Remote Web Workplace. Feature, feature, feature.

The wedge requires you to take the focus off your product and place it on the client. Remember the format of the question is "When you the client do something you the client need to do for your business, are you the client getting what you the client need?"

And the response is "My consultant doesn't do that."

By it's nature, the wedge selling technique is completely focused on the client's needs.

After all, the goal is to get the client to realize "My needs aren't being met."

And when the prospect comes to this conclusion, you take him by the hand and promise to give him what is business needs to be successful.

The truth is, if the wedge didn't exist and you just somehow managed to completely eliminate any mention of features in your sales presentation, you would dramatically improve your sales.

The wedge is just nice because the formula forces you down that path.


And remember that this technique is also great with your existing clients.

Remember: Very often, your competition is your previous excellent service, or a product you sold them some time ago.

Two examples spring to mind right away.

1) Replacing old equipment.

2) Moving to Managed Service.

The Wedge technique can be used anytime someone says that they're happy where they are, getting what they're getting.

If you've been around long enough, you may recall the launch of Windows 2000. W2K server kicked moocho booty. But, Microsoft discovered, NT 4.0 was so good, and so rock solid, that people didn't see any reason to get rid of it. Their biggest competition was not alternative operating systems: It was their own previous version.

Honestly and sincerely, deep in your heart, you know SBS2003 is far superior to an old Server 2000 box. There's no debate. It's not close. I hope you see that staying on that old box is a disservice to the client.

But the client is happy. Their server works. It handles the print queue just fine. It serves up files just fine. It's rock solid and low maintenance. And it's on HP equipment, so it will run forever.

So you come up with some Wedge questions that get the client to realize that he's not getting some benefits that only come with the technology.

Now, truth is, you're going to be a lot more low-key and conversational with your existing clients. But don't start an old-school sales pitch.

Remember, your job here is to get your client to say "I'm not getting what I need from the current setup."


Special Offer

I was so impressed with this technique that I asked Robin if she could make this particular interview available to people who are not her members. As far as I know, she hasn't done that before. After all, it costs money to be in her mastermind group and (we) subscribers are paying for exclusive access to certain information.

But Robin agreed to give away a very limited number of these audio CDs. This is about 75 or 80 minutes of telephone interview. It's a great intro to the wedge technique, with lots of example questions.

To recieve one of the free CDs, you need to be one of the first 50 people to click on this link:

And thank you, Robin, for making this material available.

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