New Data Reveals a Magical New Score for Sales Effectiveness

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Oct 31, 2019 @ 15:10 PM

110

Do you drive at the speed limit, the fastest speed you can get away with, the slowest speed you can get away with, or are you an 85th percentile driver?  The 85th percentile driver travels at the speed that 85% of the cars on that road are traveling, regardless of the posted speed limit.  Motorists.org has data, illustrated below, proving that the 85th percentile speed is the ideal speed for safe travel.

85th-percentile-speed-limits

Thanks to a new finding soon to be included in Objective Management Group's (OMG) evaluations and assessments, the sales equivalent of this data shows a correlation between spoken words per minute and sales effectiveness, identifying the safest speed or pace to deliver sales messaging.

During 2019, OMG began asking salespeople who were being evaluated to provide their value proposition and elevator pitch on video.  Prior to 2019 we simply asked them to type their elevator pitches and value propositions.  The change occurred because we believed we could learn more from audio and video.

Today, we reviewed data from the most recent 3,000 or so videos and we observed that salespeople who delivered their messages at 110 words per minute, had sales competency scores that were higher than 93% of all salespeople.  The ideal range - between 100 and 120 words per minute - places that group in the 85th percentile where their percentile score is better than 85% of the sales population.  The actual range for all salespeople was recored at between 40 (they probably had several seconds of empty recording at the beginning and/or end of their recording) to 230 (they were in a big hurry to get this over with!).

The magic of 110 words per minute is that it's easy to listen to.  A prospect is more likely to hear the entire message whereas a much slower pace is painful and a much faster pace will likely cause prospects to tune out.  The easy-to-take speed of 110 is also less threatening to a prospect, thereby lowering the risk of causing prospects to become resistant.

Pace isn't the only thing we discovered.  We've known from years of collecting value propositions and elevator pitches that the real problem is that most salespeople from most companies have horribly flawed messaging.  The messaging is often weak, rambling, off-target, vague, inconsistent and most importantly, not worded so as to differentiate.

Finally, when does pace matter?  When you're making your first call, when you're asking questions, and of course, when you're presenting!

Work on your messaging and moderate your pace to achieve performance worthy of the 85th percentile!

Share your thoughts about this in the comments for the LinkedIn discussion of this article.

Image Copyright iStock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, OMG Assessment, Value Proposition, messaging, elevator pitch

Elements of an Effective Elevator Pitch

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Sep 24, 2019 @ 17:09 PM

messaging

Why is your favorite sports team better than my favorite team?

Why do you like your political party instead of mine?

Why are you so loyal to the make of car you drive instead of the make of car that I drive?

I bet you can make a passionate pitch for all three, and probably have them come out better than an elevator pitch or your unique value proposition.

At Objective Management Group (OMG), we ask salespeople to record their elevator pitches and value propositions as part of our sales force evaluation.  Some are OK, most are not, and for most companies, there are tremendous inconsistencies between each salesperson's messages.

Elevator pitches and UVP's are usually so poorly constructed that it makes me wonder if anyone in sales leadership puts any time at all into formalizing these messages.

That said, I thought it might be helpful to discuss the elements of a good elevator pitch and/or value proposition.

I believe that a good pitch or proposition has seven elements:

  1. Personable - When a likable salesperson launches into a pitch or proposition and recites a scripted message, it sticks out like a sore thumb and they are no longer perceived as personable.  It's imperative that they deliver the right message, without sacrificing their likability.

  2. Message - Whether it's an elevator pitch or value proposition, the essence of each is the message itself. Is the actual message consistent with what an elevator pitch (what we do) or value proposition (how we uniquely provide value) are expected to communicate?  In my experience, most are not.

  3. Context - Context is important as it's the backdrop for the message.  If the type and location of an event represent the context for how to dress, then the question that was asked or the type of call or meeting represents the context for the pitch or proposition.  Context helps us frame the elevator pitch or value proposition.
                                                    
  4. Who - Often times salespeople fail to include the company, product or brand in the elevator pitch or value proposition when it's the company that should be front and center.  Explaining how what we do, or how we are different, impacts the prospect is equally important.

  5. Breadth - Salespeople should communicate the breadth of the offering or differentiation but too often, they ramble through their value proposition and elevator pitches, something that is never very effective.

  6. Succinct - As important as it is to show breadth, it is even more important to be succinct. Fewer words communicate a value proposition or elevator pitch much more effectively.

  7. Expertise - The company and salesperson have expertise and if not for their expertise, why buy from this company?  Since so many salespeople suck, many buyers are making their decisions based on price instead of value. Good messaging is required to communicate and demonstrate a company's expertise, an element that can help neutralize a price-driven buyer and provide prospects with information they can use to justify buying from a company that doesn't have the best price.

Now that you've reviewed the elements of effective elevator pitches and value propositions, what must you do to improve yours?

Comment on the LinkedIn thread for this article.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, selling value, Value Proposition, messaging, elevator pitch

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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