A lever is “an inducing or compelling force.”  Selling in a down economy is best handled through the use of levers.  I recently discovered a lever with a material that has certain properties and uses that are not offered by the market leader in this space.  The market leader has such a dominant position that most prospects are unaware of the alternate option.  In talking to customers and prospects, the lever became quite obvious.

Of course, discovering a lever is one thing, defining it within the marketplace is another.  The work that now must occur is to translate the lever into the prospect’s world.  Brevity is key.  Real-world application is needed.  Solution-based, problem-solving, market-expanding wording is the template.

Once the translation is complete, it is time to test it with cold prospects to see if it snaps them out of their dismissive state.  The bar here is low – I simply want them to do a double take.  What is this?  How do they do that?  Could we use it?  Simple, straight-forward intrigue is the target.  From there, it is up to the salesperson to qualify the prospect for fit.

Levers work well in any economy, but I think they are heightened in this economy.  Features/benefits are nice for marketing, but you’ll get run over like a speed bump attempting to sell that way in this economy.  Money is tight so the best way to shorten the sales cycle is to couch the discussion completely in the prospect’s world.  Don’t make them translate your solution.  Find the lever and define it in their world by their terms.

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