Posts Tagged ‘unique selling proposition’

What’s Your Sales Cadence?

Have you ever given thought as to your own sales cadence?  Probably not, but you more than likely have it.



Cadence according to is the “flow or rhythm of events especially the pattern in which something is experienced.” The site provides the example of a slight decline or elevation in the pitch of one’s voice at the end of a declarative statement.

When we do not recognize our own cadence, this suggests we do not recognize the cadence of others.  In sales, not recognizing the flow or rhythm of events can lead to a no sale situation.

My sense is there is a strong correlation between sales cadence and emotional intelligence because of this key word – recognize.  When we recognize and then attempt to understand the emotions of others while at the same time recognizing and attempting to understand our own emotions, we then can manage both.  How well we manage both sets of emotions speaks to our level of emotional intelligence.

How often have we heard salespeople rattle off their unique selling proposition statements like a Gatling gun? One could almost hear the rat-a-tat-tat as the barrel spins around and around.

Have you even been in a sales conversation where the sales prospect is very slow and deliberate in his or her responses to your open ended sales questions? Possibly you thought the individual was “not getting what you were saying?” and so you repeat yourself or attempt a different sales question?

Maybe the answer is just as simple as his or her cadence was different than yours?

When to learn to actively listen, we can better understand the cadence of others.  Active listening is essential if your goal is to increase sales.

Possibly these words of Mark Twain may help you discover your sales cadence:

“If the good Lord wanted us to speak more than to listen, he would have given us two mouths instead of two ears.”

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How This One Word Is a Sales Killer

The last thing any salesperson wants to do is to lose a sale even before the first face to face sit down appointment. Yet, many who sell as a profession are losing opportunities because they continue to speak this one  sales killer word.

sales-killerSo what is that one word?

The answer is:


Everyone helps everyone else.

We help…

I help…

I just read an email from a noted sales expert who used the word help in the:

  • Elevator pitch
  • Unique selling proposition
  • Value proposition

When enough buyers hear the word help from enough salespeople, this word is no longer heard as help, but rather as “sell.”

We help becomes we sell.

I help becomes I sell.

What has happened is a conditioned response which is a natural human behavior.

Additionally, the salesperson is no longer differentiated because he or she has been lumped into the same pool of hungry salespeople looking to sell under the pretense of helping.

So if you wish to increase sales, to Be the Red Jacket in the Sea of Gray Suits, to truly differentiate yourself or your small business from your competitors, then drop this sales killer word of help.

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What Is Missing In Most “I Can Maximize Profits” Unique Selling Proposition Statements

Listen to many sales consultants, small business coaches or even quality specialists and their unique selling proposition statements may sound like “I can maximize profits” or something very similar.  Yet yesterday I once again asked this question of a new client:


How many of your employees know how you make and keep money with 100% clarity?

He said very few and that was part of the problem. This client also shared that I was the only outside consultant to ever ask that question. Additionally, he shared that he only has these types of in depth conversations with me because I do not sound like all those other HR consultants, OD practitioners or small business coaches.

Those with the unique selling proposition statements of “I can maximize profits” may be able to do just that. However they are probably failing to truly maximize profits because there is no profit model. These individuals are conditioned to employ traditional profit loss statements by increasing revenue and decreasing costs. Yet profitability is so much more.

Currently I am working on creating a simple profit model for small businesses under 46 employees.  This profit model works with the 3 basic growth stages that I have also identified.

Now if the firm was larger and looking to grow beyond 46 employees I would employe a 7 stage business growth model as suggested in the book Navigating the Growth Curve. The profit model would be a little more intense and have 12 different elements.

If the employees of any firm, especially small businesses, do not know how the firm makes and keeps money, those unique selling proposition statements that reflect “profit maximization” are truly not maximizing profits and worse yet may be setting employees up to fail.

Does that really make sense?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who looks to discover new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses or those who wish to grow beyond their current employees as well as executives in chaos.  She can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.

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Simply Speaking an Elevator Pitch Is a Short Story

In the small business world much emphasis is placed around what is called the elevator pitch or 30 second elevator speech. Some may expand this 10 second to 30 second introduction into a unique positioning statement or unique selling proposition. Call it what you well, this response that is connected to the infamous question of “What do you do?” is just a short story.

From our early education years, we know that a short story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Each elevator pitch also has 3 parts:

  1. Introduction such as person’s name, role and the name of the small business
  2. The small business focus from an emotionally engaging value or results driven perspective
  3. Call to action

Remember, People hear words, yet think in pictures.

A short story allows you to create a picture in the mind’s eye of your potential customer or prospect for your small business. Additionally, there are other similarities.

Character:  As the small business owner, entrepreneur, salesperson C Suite executive, you may be the central character or it may be your customers.

Setting: Depending upon where your business is physically located the setting may be implied or actually stated.

Plot: Since the plot is the main event of a short story, it is also present in your 30 second elevator speech.

Conflict: This may easily translate into what your customers have experienced.

Theme: Since the theme is the central idea, again this is interwoven into any response to the question of “What do you do?” or “Tell me a little more about yourself?”

When we begin to think of the elevator pitch as a marketing short story with a beginning, middle and end, it becomes a more simple for us to understand how to construct it. Now simplicity does not easily translate into easy or quick as sometimes these statements take months to carefully fine tune.  Also, there is always the chance someone else will like what you have to say and start saying something similar. Then its back to the marketing story writing board.

Consider looking at your 30 second elevator pitch and see if it tells a short, compelling marketing story that emotionally engages those listening to want to come up to you and read (learn) even more about you and what you do.

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How Value Propositions Ignore the Reality of Today’s Business World – Friday’s Editorial

Value propositions (VP) have been promoted as the panacea to turn around lackluster sales.  The belief promoted by many top marketing gurus to sales experts is to have a compelling value proposition and “wa la” you will increase sales because you are different.

In the book A Seat at the Table, Marc Miller makes a convincing argument that VP or unique selling proposition (USP) are old school (my words not his) because value is specific to each client.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Sales buying rule #3 is “People buy on value unique to them.”

Then when listening to David Stein from ES Research webinar he shared what his clients tell him is there is  very little to no differentiation between vendors.  My sense is this differentiation is all about value as perceived from the customer and not from the seller. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Stand out,   Be the Red Jacket in the sea of gray suits.

In reading a post by Martin Harshberger, he shared the this statistic as taken from a recent survey by National Federation of Independent Business: 

Sales concerns have gone from less than 10% in 2000 to over 20% in 2010

With more and more entrepreneurs already entering a tight marketplace, keeping your current sales or even attempting to increase sales is very much a daily battle. That first encounter with a potential customer, strategic partner or even center of influence may truly be your only time to attract attention.

If we believe that human beings share certain motivators, but essentially are still unique individuals, then maybe it makes more sense to develop a compelling emotional marketing value statement (EMVS)  that has some generic value, but not specific enough to turn off a potential client.

Oren Klaff in his book Pitch Anything talks about the STRONG method of pitching. As a VP or USP is truly about how you position you, your company or your solutions, then his methodology along with his description of frames makes sense.

Is the VP dead? No, but this statements probably need to be tweaked to work with what is known about how the brain engages in buying decisions. And given the impact of emotions, it may make sense to trigger the primitive brain before looking to the logical brain. Possibly another solution is instead of having just one, depending upon the target market and ideal customer profile, there could be potentially several EMVS.

One fact is certain. Your VP, USP or emotional marketing value statement does require detailed research into the why of your customer’s buying decision.  The receipt of this psychographic data will help you craft a truly compelling emotional marketing value statement or maybe several that will increase sales.

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Emotionalize Your USP for Sales Success – Friday’s Editorial

Your USP (unique selling proposition) is a demonstration of what allows you to Be the Red Jacket in the sea of Gray Suits.  These first few spoken words should immediately separate you from all those other realtors, financial advisors, bankers, insurance agents, consultants, business coaches, sales coaching, promotional vendors, marketers (fill in your industry or professional role).

When you emotionalize those first few spoken words as you begin your sales process, you begin to secure the desired end results of marketing that being:

  • To make a friend
  • To be asked back


For example, when people ask me what I do (this is audience dependent) I respond with a smile:

“I simply make people uncomfortable.”

Since my clients continue to be forward thinking leaders who want a new Status Quo, but are for whatever the reason or reasons unable to leave the existing Status Quo, my role is to make them uncomfortable thereby providing that nudge to get them off the dime. Change is not easy and to be engaged in change is uncomfortable.

What happens is that I usually receive smiles or even laughs when others hear my marketing response. Smiles and laughs are emotions demonstrated through behaviors.

Another secondary goal specific to the overall sales process is not violating the three sales buying rules as well as beginning to put lids on the five sales objections buckets.  The sooner any sales person can stop sales objections from happening, the easier it becomes to earn the sale.

As much as one would like to have to only strategize and have only one USP, this is wishing thinking. If you have more than one target market, you will need an emotion generating USP for each target market.  Also, your USP may be copied by other competitors because they will see the value in your well chosen words. When this happens, smile and begin to think creatively once again.

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Why Most USP Fail to Increase Sales

Most USP (unique selling propositions) fail to increase sales because they focus on the wrong end of the horse so to speak.  Listen to any one respond to this question “What do you do?” and the majority of answers will probably bore you to tears if not totally shut down your incoming brain receptors. Possibly you may even have had a thought such as “Boy another realtor, financial advisor (fill in the blank), heard all that stuff before. Beam me out of here Scottie!”

Now consider this out of the box question:

If you delivered an emotionally intelligent response that talked about the what of what you do (think results) and not the how of what you do, how does that change your perspective and what would that sound like?

Chew on that today and tomorrow I will share one example.

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People buy results or rather people buy the feelings the results deliver.

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