How to Tailor a Sales Message to Your Prospects

Learn how personalizing your pitch can make your message resonate and persuade your prospects.

July 20, 2016

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The landscape of sales is changing. For example, it’s no longer enough to convince one individual to purchase your products or services. Research shows that most buying decisions involve multiple decision makers, each of whom must be persuaded to see the value of your solution.

Social selling can help you get to the right decision makers, and it can also help you to gather useful insights about their business and its needs. Those are important pieces of the puzzle, but you still need a complete sales strategy that matches our modern, social media-driven buying climate.

That’s where the Challenger sales model comes in. It’s a unique, novel approach to sales that focuses on teaching prospects to see things from a new perspective, which ultimately makes them more receptive to your solution.

The Challenger Sales Rep

Many sales reps mistakenly believe that their most successful route to winning a deal is to target customers who have already displayed a serious interest in their offerings. But the Challenger sales model, originally described in The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, suggests exactly the opposite.

In fact, recent CEB research confirms a major component of the Challenger model: that the most successful and highest performing sales reps are actually those who choose to target more skeptical potential customers and clients. While it may be more challenging to win over these customers, in doing so, the sales rep is able to make a lasting impression that resonates beyond one customer or one conversation. Down the road, that impact will lead to more sales and more influence over important decision makers.

What It Means to Teach & Tailor Your Pitch

If you’ve read The Challenger Sale or any article championing its ideas, you’re probably familiar with its core principles. As the text puts it, “a Challenger rep is really defined by the ability to do three things: teach, tailor, and take control.” But what does it really mean to teach and tailor your message and sales pitch?

When it comes to teaching, perhaps the most important takeaway for sales reps is that your sales pitch should teach the customer something new about their own business.

That’s where the challenging comes in: Challenger reps must learn to be teachers who push their customers forward. They should understand their prospect’s businesses well enough to teach them to see their own business from an innovative angle. Once your prospect views their business in a new light, it becomes much easier to sell them on a new solution.

Of course, the “tailoring” part is critical, too. Sales reps won’t be successful if they insist on a one-size-fits-all approach. In order to win deals, each sales pitch should be simple and powerful enough to re-shape the customer’s thinking, but it should also be customized to the buyer’s specific needs and concerns.

How LinkedIn & Social Selling Can Help

There’s nothing that’s particularly difficult to grasp about the concepts of challenging, teaching, and tailoring—but as with many aspects of selling, it’s easier said than done. Ultimately, in order to apply a tailored message that teaches your prospect something new about their business, you need to have a deep understanding of their company, including its particular needs, goals, and concerns.

You can gain a lot of insights simply by listening to your prospects and asking them the right questions. However, in today’s world, the best sales reps use insights gleaned from LinkedIn and other social platforms to fill in the gaps before they engage.

By following the right prospects and decision makers and seeing what interests them on social media, you can arm yourself with useful information that will make it that much easier to influence them, eventually persuading them to see things from a new perspective.

To learn more about the fundamentals of social selling, download our eBook: Getting Started with Social Selling on LinkedIn.