The idea for this post came about when I was having a call with my appointed mentee from the MAE mentorship program. We were talking about the types of conversations to have with people regarding our products, and I was passing on some knowledge that had been taught to me when I first came into the company.
For those of you who are in sales you may have heard the “WIFM” acronym before. This stands for “what’s in it for me?” In sales one of the first things you have to do is get as much background information about your “target” as possible. Some of our main call points are surgeons (of all specialties), EP Doctors, and Cardiologists. However, Doctors aren’t our only call points. For my products, the purchasing manager, nurse educator, business manager, specialty lead, even the gatekeeper that decides if my information makes it across their desk and into the Doctor’s hands is a key player in the daily call schedule. Each one of these people have different backgrounds, deal with different issues during their day, and each person has their own version of “what a win for them is” regarding my product.
One of the Regional Business Directors that I GREATLY admire and respect always says “the first rule of sales is, with each person you talk to, figure out their WIFM.” Sonny’s words (which I first heard four years ago) have always remained with me. He taught me (and all his reps) that every person we interact with needs to understand the value of our technology and that it’s our job as good sales reps to sit back and think about WHO this person is and WHAT is important to them…before we even talk to them.
How many times have you thought you did an awesome presentation? You had ALL the facts, you were charismatic, your power point had all the bells and whistles of someone who read the advanced “Power Point for Dummies” booklet, and you should have aced it!!! However, the person you were presenting to comes back with less than stellar feedback? You sit there for a minute and think: “What the heck happened?!?! They must have been sleeping during my presentation because I was sure I nailed that!!!”
Well, what you might have neglected to plan for was that specific persons’ “hot buttons.” Now that I’ve been in the industry for a while, I don’t even approach a surgeon or hospital stakeholder until I first either observe them directly or talk to one of their reps who has a close relationship with them. I know that I usually have ONE shot with these people, and only a few minutes to spark their interest. The more I can discover about what makes them tick, what is important to them, and what they deal with on a daily basis that my technology could potentially help with, the better my chances are of nailing that meeting and securing a chance at becoming someone who is a “value added” teammate.
So how about you? Is there a big presentation coming up that you’re getting ready for? Are you in sales and have a HUGE target that you’d like to secure? If so, what is that specific individual’s WIFM? Have you done the background work that you will need to have done so that you can go into that presentation or meeting and know you are going to make an impact? And if not…would it be a good idea to put off that meeting until you know that what you are showing will directly resonate with them? Or are you simply going to do a “canned presentation” and hope that you splattered enough information down that something will stick?
Throwing spaghetti on the wall to test to see if it’s ready to eat works when you’re at home cooking for your family and friends. But when it comes to your business…might it be better to find out what this person wants instead of hoping that what’s been used before will be good enough for them…?