We recently reviewed Conversations that Win the Complex Sale, a book aimed at helping sales people rethink their messaging, as part of the B2B Sales and Marketing Book Club. The book stresses that differentiation is crucial in today’s market, and the best way a brand can differentiate itself is through customer engagement.

How to engage customers more effectively? Authors Erik Peterson and Tim Riesterer, who run a consulting company called Corporate Visions, say rethinking your messaging to sales leads is key. One of Corporate Visions’ core services is to teach clients a technique called Power Messaging, which essentially is what Conversations that Win is all about.

Basically, with Power Messaging, a sales person concentrates on telling the buyer a story from the buyer’s point of view, rather than his or her own corporate message. By approaching messaging this way, Riesterer and Peterson say, you can create more compelling messaging that will close more deals faster.

One thing that grabbed my attention in the first chapter is the book’s message that acting on your best instincts is not always the best idea. In a field as interpersonal as sales this idea may seem almost counter-intuitive, but in practice it makes a lot of sense. As the authors point out:

Your instincts and intentions tell you to:

  • Help your customers (good intention)
  • Give your customers as much information as possible (bad instinct)
  • Show your depth and professionalism (good intention)
  • Use sophisticated language to reveal your depth (bad instinct)
  • Build relationships with customers (good intention)
  • Move from agreement to agreement with your customers and never challenge their point of view (bad instinct)
  • Deliver your message in a memorable way (good intention)
  • Play it safe and focus on being as polished as possible (bad instinct)

Makes you think, right? The chapter starts out with a story about Babe Ruth: how he was a decent hitter, but never truly hit his stride until he went against instinct to use a significantly lighter bat. This is just one example of how what seems like the best route to success isn’t always, well, what it seems.

Of course, that point is just the tip of the iceberg. To learn more about the book, check out our B2B Sales and Marketing Book Club review, or visit the book’s website for some quick Brainshark videos on what the book is about and how it can help with sales.

Have you read Conversations that Win the Complex Sale? If so, what did you think?