Why Your Sales Messages Don’t Work

Contrast & Context

You’ve probably spent significant time honing your sales messages to make sure your prospects will want to buy your solution once you’ve finished your presentation.

So why do so many deals in the pipeline end up lost to competitors, or worse, lost to "no decision at all?"

Because your sales message lacks contrast and context.

Lack of Contrast

When salespeople think about contrast—or, to use the marketing term, differentiation—they typically think about creating contrast versus their competitors.

But way before prospects even begin to compare you with other vendors, they’re trying to decide if there’s enough reason to make a change or an investment, period. In other words, they are comparing your solution to the status quo. And the truth is that up to 60% of forecasted deals end up in a “no-decision” black hole where the prospect decides to invest neither with you nor with someone else.

This means that your prospects aren’t seeing enough reason to do something different than what they’re doing today. In other words, they don’t see enough contrast between their current situation and what you’re offering to convince them to change.

By showing the contrast between where they are now and where they could be with your solution, you demonstrate the full value of what you have to offer. The greater the contrast, the  higher the value.

However, without contrast, your proposal has a much lower value—and a high chance of gathering dust on your prospect’s desk.

Lack of Context

Studies show that when people are faced with a choice, they are more likely to pick the option that avoids pain, rather than the one that offers gain. The human brain is simply wired that way. However, when most sales people present to prospects, they focus on features and benefits. In other words, they emphasize what prospects have to gain, which essentially works against the human brain instead of with it.

Instead, you need to help your prospect see the threats, risks, challenges, and missed opportunities of staying with their current status quo—and not choosing your solution. Rather than leading with your features and benefits, you need to show them that there are very real disadvantages to sticking with their status quo. Once that’s established, you can bring in the positive and align the strengths of your solution to show your prospect how they can adapt to avoid this pain.

This approach—of leading with the pain then bringing in the gain—enables you to create urgency while making your solution critical to your prospect’s survival.

Combined with the power of contrast, creating this context helps you take the first step toward making your solution a must in your prospect’s business—and get much closer to making the sale.

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