It took me years to figure out a full proof way to sell corporate video production services to high level executives. I used to think it was all about the pitch or all about how eloquent my writing was in the form of a brochure or letter. What I realized after a lot of frustration (and money) was that it’s not what you tell these people that makes a difference. It’s first, what you ask them, and then it’s what you show them.
A couple years ago, I met the Human Resources Manager for one of the largest trucking companies in the world (seriously) at a networking meeting. She heard me talking to another person about the type of work we do and it piqued her interest. She invited me to set up a meeting with her do discuss how our services could help her train new hires upon entering their company.
A couple weeks later, I arrived at her office and she looked very distracted and a bit frustrated that I was there. I thought to myself, “You are the one who asked for this meeting to take place so don’t get mad at me for being here.” When she finally turned her attention towards me, she said, “So, what do you want to tell me?”
At this point I made a huge rookie mistake even though I had already been in business for more than 10 years.
I began to give her the laundry list of services we provide for human resource departments. As I went on and on it was as if I knew in my head I was talking way too much and wasn’t really saying anything. All I could think of was how the teacher sounds in the Charlie Brown cartoons, “Wa, Wah, Wah, Wa Wah Wah Wa.”
After I finished what seemed to be an hour long lecture on all the things we do, the look on her face was even more frazzled than before I started running my mouth.
She was speechless and it wasn’t because I did an amazing job. It’s because I bored her to tears and didn’t say a single thing that “spoke” to her.
After an awkward moment of silence, I remember getting more nervous by the second until I blurted out, “You know, I got bored listening to myself as I droned on and on about what we do. You look stressed out so really what I need to be asking is how I can use my talents to make your life easier.”
When I finished that statement, a glimmer of hope came across her face as she perked up in her chair. She said, “That’s the problem. I’m so stressed. I don’t even know what I need help with.”
That’s when the magic started to happen. For the next hour, I asked her about every question I could think of that related to how her job responsibilities were hurting her personally as well as hurting the enterprise because she was having a hard time keeping up.
I asked her questions like:
How often do you have to train new employees?
Where do you train them? Here or all over the country?
How do you train them?
How much time does it take you and your staff to deliver this information?
Would your time be better spent doing something else if we can help you automate much of the training process?
That last question (or similar question depending on who you are talking to) is really the turning point in the selling process. You’ve helped the prospect identify her issues or pain points and how you are introducing the idea that there is a solution that can make her life easier.
Once she answers, “Yes” to the “Would your time be better spent if we could help you automate this process” question, that’s when you start explaining how your services can help make that a reality.
Back to the meeting… I had identified her pain points and indicated that I may have a solution. She was all ears and eager to hear what I had to say now. At this point, my laundry list of ideas and/or services made sense to her and I was excited to frame them in a way that I knew would help her.
We ultimately decided together that the best approach would be to produce a new employee orientation video that would be shown to every single person that entered the company at any of their 80+ locations across the United States. She calculated that this alone would save her and her staff at least two hours a day in physical training time which would help them stay on track with other human resource responsibilities.
Because I had helped to identify her true stressors (or pain points), offered solutions using our services that could solve her problems (or make her life easier), she gladly signed a contract for almost $20,000 for us to produce this video.
I’ve sense labeled this style of selling, “The Roller Coaster Method.” Not because it’s wild and crazy, but because there is a logical beginning, middle and end. Just like in the selling process, there is a period of time when you have to climb the hill. This is when you have to ask as many questions as possible so you can start to uncover needs that are causing the customer unnecessary stress.
Then, just like on a roller coaster, there’s those couple of moments when you are perfectly balanced at the top of the steepest drop just before the action really starts! In the selling process, then is when you ask the question, “So, Mrs. Customer, what if I can show you how our services can make that pain go away? Would you be interested in exploring it further?” When the customer answers, “Yes!” that’s when the roller coaster tips over the edge and starts hauling butt down the first slope.
This fast and fun process is when you start to match up your video production services in a way that will absolutely make their life easier. The only thing left is to get their agreement that your solution will help them accomplish their goals and to agree on a price.