There’s no secret to it.
Making money in sales — particularly entry- to mid-level sales — isn’t about finesse. Hard work is the only reliable measure of success: Number of cold calls made, emails sent, hours logged, etc.
But there is one very important moment in every SDR’s daily work that requires a little bit of psychological maneuvering. I’m talking about the vision match.
The Vision Match is the moment you reveal to a prospect that you’ve heard their needs, and you have a very real solution that can help them.
Getting to this point, however, depends on a series of qualification and discovery questions. Namely, can you understand the problems your prospects are experiencing, and from those problems, can you distill the actual impact they desire?
(See “active listening” for more on this.)
Separating the two — problems and impacts — is the turning point.
Problems vs. Impacts
The impact is the long term gain achieved through solving one or more problems. A lot of new or inexperienced sales reps jump straight to the demo-proposal once they hear of a single problem they can help solve.
This, however, feels cheap to the prospect. They won’t trust you with their time unless they feel you actually understand their business and have a vested interest in helping them. Let’s consider an example of a problem vs. an impact.
Problem: Our phone system doesn’t integrate with our CRM, so we have to do a lot of manual work to keep our records up to date.
At this point, the inexperienced rep will say, “I’m selling a phone system that eliminates that integrates with your CRM, let me show you what it looks like!”
And this may work, but the more powerful proposition addresses the underlying repercussions of the problem.
Impact: Manual work is time-consuming and prone to error. This causes reps to sound amateurish and lose deals.
Cue the Vision Match… An If-Then Statement
When possible, the vision match should be an if-then statement that makes it clear to the prospect that you understand the stakes of the problem, and you have a value-oriented solution.
Using the example from above the vision match would be:
If I can show you how Aircall eliminates manual work and will help your sales reps win more deals, can I have 20 minutes of your time next week?
And this is the big transition. It’s very hard for prospects to say no to something they’re actually struggling with. If they can, you didn’t have an actual impact. Using the very same information they’ve provided, you’ve synthesized an accurate and pressing need for their business.
If you can plainly state the value proposition and show them the way forward, nobody will say no to hearing you out for 20 more minutes.
Finishing touches: Create a sense of urgency
Okay, you’ve convinced your prospect that your product can potentially solve a real problem. Now, you need to act fast. A lot of great sales work gets lost when meetings aren’t booked efficiently and quickly.
As a crash course, here’s one model for creating urgency I find works well.
Step 1: What’s a good day for you next week?
It makes no sense for you to choose a day — at this point, you want as few points of friction as possible. If you suggest a day and it’s no good for them, that’s just another round of unnecessary negotiations (I’m serious).
Step 2: Are you a morning or afternoon person?
Ask this question verbatim. People segment the day without even thinking about it. This question seems harmless, but in reality, it’s very important. The prospect will, whether they want to or not, provide you with an honest answer. You’ll be getting the best version of whoever you’re talking to, at their prime time.
Step 3: Uh oh, you only have two times available
You’ve accommodated the lead thus far, but let’s not forget, you’re an in-demand professional, and everyone wants a piece of what you’re selling (truth).
In reality, there’s probably an AE who could hop on a demo at 9 PM if that’s really what the prospect wants, but you need to be ready with only two options for them — Ex. 9 AM, and 10:30 AM (or 2:30 and 4:00 PM, if in the afternoon).
This drives urgency, which ultimately is a subconscious reason they’ll actually even show at demo time in the first place.
To recap, you’ve found a day that works for them, you even have availability at their personal “golden hour.” But if they want to lock in this perfect time, they have to choose one of these two times now, because space is limited.
It’s a bit subliminal, but they’ll feel a sense of urgency to grab one of these prime slots that best fit their personality and schedule.
Pro tip: if they try to move one of your times ~15-30 minutes, hesitate for about 5 seconds and say it’ll work, but you have a meeting right after, so you just need to be sure to end on time. And be sure to grab a calendar appointment!
There are other ways to create urgency, but this is fairly reliable. If you have any questions about the vision match or are interested in other ways to build a sense of urgency with prospects, you’ll have to reach out to me directly!