I recently was a featured speaker at a SalesHacker event at Projective Space in New York City, and while I spoke about many topics from my book, I spoke for the first time about the topic of sales land mines and it seemed to generate quite a bit of questions both at the event and afterwards, and I realized that while I teach this method a lot, I have never written about it.
To be clear, I do not mean to make light of all of the tragedy in the world relative to land mines, but it is a term that describes a particular sales tactic well.
Land mines, in sales-speak, are tactics that make sure that when you are not around, your sales pitch will resonate and continue to work for you after you are gone.
Please remember me always
The first type of land mine that you should be using is the one you leave after they have said no or not now. You will be using words to set a land mine that will sit in the back of the prospects brain and then <boom> go off at just the right time and trigger a call to you.
For example, I did some selling for an e-commerce company a few years ago, and we knew that in that industry, Black Friday & Cyber Monday, was a very, very critical initiative for all of the companies. It was so important that most of the year, there was still thought around what and how the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales would affect the rest of the year. Therefore, whenever I got a final “no” from clients, I would leave them with the phrase, “I completely understand and appreciate your time. I will let you know that our current customers have had a lot of success using our technology to significantly improve their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. And many of those customers benefitted by having our technology in place long before. So, as you think about your November plans, don’t hesitate to call me, and I’d be happy to talk about whether we can be helpful or not helpful based on those plans.”
The land mine was set.
What very often happened, was 1 to 3 months later, my phone would ring or I would get an email requesting another meeting. WITHOUT my prompting.
Why? In most cases, my prospect sat down in a meeting with a superior and talked about the current strategy. And more often then not, this person was asked about their Cyber Monday strategy, and/or if they were doing absolutely everything they needed to do and/or if they had exhausted all possible ways to make Cyber Monday successful.
The minute that superior made those comments, my voice was in their head saying “I can help you with your Cyber Monday plans… I have had success in the past.”
By making sure I left with my critical pain point firmly placed in their heads, I knew that I could rely on this land mine to do the work when I was gone.
What is the one major problem that you solve that you have a reasonable expectation that your prospect’s boss will ask about needing a solution later on? If you don’t have one, then you should certainly think of one, because not only is that the perfect land mine, but its a perfect way to grease the close.
Beware all those who follow me!
The second type of land mine is one you place for competitors. In order to properly place this type of land mine, you must truly understand your unique advantage over the competition and how you can use that information.
If you know that you are part of a bake-off, or even if you aren’t sure, you can place land mines that will give your prospect pause when he or she hears from that competitor or does the research into your competitors. What I typically do, is to treat my unique advantage as a pure given of all great products which, rather than bashing your competition, gives you a way to discredit their approach without mentioning them – and instead letting them blow themselves up.
For example, the first company I founded was a dispatch and vehicle location software firm, and what made us very unique was that our software was very device and network agnostic which meant that customers had a lot of flexibility – which we considered very important at the time because wireless networks were in their infancy and you couldn’t rely on a single network easily across your entire fleet. So, whenever I went into prospects, my pitch always included some words like this, “Since coverage is so spotty everywhere and the market for wireless providers is so fluid, you will see that the best products in the market will support all the major networks and also a variety of devices so that you have flexibility in a system that you will likely need to have last a decade.” I knew that none of my competitors had the beadth of network and device coverage that we had, and I also knew that their pitch was that having tight integration with a single network and device gave you the best experience.”
I, however, placed a land mine that said, “My flexibility will give your system longevity”
When my competitors walked in, they had to answer the barrage of questions about, “What happens if that device manufacturer goes belly up?” “What happens if that network goes away or is acquired?” “How do I make sure your system will still be able to support me in 6-10 years.”
The land mine that I set for my competitors allowed THEM to have to deal with the aftermath of doubt I placed in them. Since I told them the best systems all did what I did, then they immediately were not one of the best systems. They had to explain why they didn’t support something so basic to a great system.
What is the one unique advantage that you have, that you HONESTLY believe that every system should have? Make that a given. Rather than talk about it as if you are unique in delivering that – treat this as if its should be a given in every great system and let your competition explain why it doesn’t matter. You are immediately elevated, and you will find that more deals will close.
Set those land mines!
What land mines are you setting that let a deal work for you when you are not around?