255: George’s Top Tips – Talk Tracks

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Is your presentation different every time? Why? If you have something that’s working, why would you change it every time?

Our extraordinary host, George Leith, walks us through the importance of having a talk track. They can also be called a value propositions. In this episode, we’re going to discuss writing talk tracks and building compelling value propositions. Talk tracks get a bad rap of being a way to keep a salesperson in a box.  A talk track isn’t an “insert name here” and run through a presentation like a robot. The purpose of a talk track is to identify problems and then work on writing a talk track on how your product or services solve those problems. By finding a sense of urgency or finding things that are critical for various reasons, you can start thinking about that when writing talk track.

George is a thoroughly experienced, educational, and inspirational sales and marketing keynote speaker who can enlighten your company or professional association on best practices for transforming sales and utilizing social media’s innovative concepts to align your digital media marketing with current trends and prepare it for the unpredictable times ahead. As a sales transformation keynote speaker, author and guest university lecturer, he has a unique ability to demystify concepts and inspire businesses and professionals to understand and truly embrace the potential that digital transformation has for many business objectives including sales, business development, and marketing for B2B, non-profit organizations, as well as government institutions.



George: It’s the Conquer Local podcast, our sound engineer tBone, we are in the sound lounge beautifully appointed studios here in beautiful Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with producer Coleen. George’s Top Tips. I had John reach out to me on the LinkedIn channel and he said, “How do you write the scripts?” I think there’s a lot of… people get really freaked out as salespeople to go, “No, I’m not using the script. I don’t need a script.” Does that mean that your presentation is different every time? Because that’s just freaking weird. If you’ve got something that’s working, why would you change it every time? Now, we have to have some personality and that doesn’t mean that it’s something… You can’t walk in as a robot and go, “OK, here is a presentation. What was your name? Insert name here. Oh, yeah, Joe and what…” You can’t do that. That’s not what I’m talking about when I’m talking about the script.

George: Gib Olander, our EVP of Product calls it vignettes. Ed OKeefe, our EVP of Marketplace likes to use the term lyric. I like to use a term that was taught to me by one of the smartest sales managers in the business, Craig Diebel, from Fort Worth, Texas. Everything good comes from Texas, and he asked me to come into his offices, beautiful downtown Fort Worth and help them with their talk track around digital marketing. That was five years ago, and I’ve been using that term ever since because I believe that this is the missing piece for salespeople, it’s writing a talk track. I think it’s also called a value proposition, and we’re going to talk all about writing talk tracks and building compelling value propositions. Here’s what it’s not; here’s what it’s not; it is not what marketing gives you. It’s not what the product team gives you.

George: The product team builds up a product and they come up with a value proposition, they put on a one-sheeter, they maybe build some nice animations or maybe they write a video or some email marketing or they do some Facebook stuff, and they do some crazy marketing things. And they never put it in front of actual customers and see their eyes roll back in their head when they don’t understand the words and there is not a lot… I’m not saying all organizations, just most come up with all this great stuff over here in a bubble that has not been tried. They’re like, “Oh, we had trusted testers.” Who are they? Then they show you the list of trust testers, you’re like, “Oh, yeah, those people don’t even sell anything.” I want to put it in front of real people, and I want to get the real story down.

George: I’m not saying you don’t need marketing because I’m a big believer in marketing and I love it, it’s called air cover. It gets in there way before I come in with the street troops. Softens the enemy up, gets them ready to say yes. You do need marketing, and I love animations. Who doesn’t love animations? Family Guy, boom, it’s great stuff. But what we need to do is we need to get across from the customer and we need to test what works in the presentation and then we need to keep using it. That’s the key to it. I remember when we first started building out inside sales inside our organization, hired a consultant, brought him in, Butch Langlois, good buddy of mine, Toronto, Ontario. But Butch told us something that they found when they were building up their inside sales team was that if you changed one word in the script that you knew was working.

George: So a script that was written by somebody that run sales organizations, is good at telling stories, and good at building the sales story, and then that person actually takes the script that they’ve written and uses it a thousand times and closes a bunch of deals. If some close rate comes of it, now you know you’ve got a script that works and you can use that script. But if you change one word, it may change your close percentage by 10% or something like that. That’s how important it is to find the proper value propositions that are resonating with your prospects. In its simplest terms, a value proposition is the positioning statement that explains what benefit you provide your prospect and how you do it uniquely well. That’s the definition. What we need to be doing is describing the target, the problem that’s solved, and then how we beat all the other people that deliver those solutions.


Use the Four U’s to Build Your Talk Track

George: Let’s dig into how we’re going to build those value propositions, or as I’m calling them, talk tracks. Because in digital marketing, you’ve heard us in previous episodes where we talk about the marketing stack. That businesses need a new marketing stack. I really liked that positioning because they probably haven’t even thought about it as a stack, and then you can start to work your way through the customer journey that they have. Not their customer journey with you, but their customer’s journey with the business person. You’ve heard me… let’s cover it again, there’s the awareness stage, that’s all the advertising, then I got to be able to find you because I’m starting the research stage. Consumers are going to 15 different places to research the things that they’re buying. That’s where reviews and social come in, and then we’ve got the website where the transaction could occur for an e-commerce business, or maybe that’s where we request more information or fill out a form and become a hot lead.

George: Then we have the sale itself and then we have the opportunity to build loyalty and to build that raving fan that we can upsell. Here’s the talk track, that’s the talk track around the customer journey for small or medium-sized business. When we start working on that value proposition, we want to talk about the four U’s. Here come the four U’s, the first is the problem unworkable? Does your solution fix a broken business process where there are real measurable consequences to inaction? Meaning, again, there’s some fear of loss. Will someone get fired if this thing isn’t solved? Now that’s a pretty compelling reason. If the answer is yes, if we don’t fix this problem, somebody’s going to get fired, usually, the person who could be getting fired becomes your internal champion if you’ve got the solution to the problem.

George: As the common theme of, the Conquer Local podcast, needs-based selling, figuring out what problem you’re able to solve uniquely for that customer is very important. Is fixing the problem unavoidable? Meaning you’ve got to fix this problem because there’s some sort of governance or regulatory control, or if you’re not… Is it driven by a fundamental requirement that it has to be controlled or solved by? If that answer is yes, then the group that is impacted by that will likely be a champion. For those of you in Europe or maybe you are listening to us in California or in South Africa, GDPR, or this privacy act is something that we are going to have to start solving. We’re going to have to solve it inside our organizations and we’re going to have to start solving it for our businesses. Finding the people that are impacted by privacy and GDPR, those folks would likely be your champion.

George: Is the problem urgent? Is it one of the few priorities for the company? If you’re selling to enterprise organizations, you’ll find it hard to command the attention of the buyers, they were the C-Suite, if it isn’t an urgent problem. We’re trying to figure out those various problems with the four U’s. The other one: is the problem underserved? I find this in marketing space where they are doing some sort of marketing; they’re doing some sort of promotion; they’re doing some sort of listings management, SEO, something like that. But it really isn’t being done right. It’s more calls than not that I’m on where we’re trying to unseat some other organization that’s dealing with it. It’s very rare that we hear, “Oh, no, the group we work with is amazing. We’ve got this group, they knock it out of the park.”


Identifying the issues is BLAC and White

George: No, I’ve just done a call with a 932 location restaurant chain the other day. We were talking to their head of marketing and they’re on their second listings provider and things are going not very well for a second time. In my mind, the problem isn’t being solved, and in this case, it’s underserved. I love these types of prospects because if you can come up with a great talk track and some case studies and some testimonials or some advocates that can say that you’re really great at solving this problem, you get a really good opportunity with that. You want to qualify the problem, and this is the black and white tests. Get ready, here comes an acronym, BLAC is B-L-A-C, blatant, latent, aspirational, or critical. What you’re looking for is the biggest white space. We’re going to put the graphic inside the materials that we provide with the episode, but I found this online and I’m like, “Whoa, this is some great stuff.”

George: You’re looking for the white space. On the left axis of this graphic, you have blatant up in the top corner. It’s like boom, it just hits you right in there, it’s right there, there’s the problem. You got latent, you don’t really know where it is. You got aspirational, oh, it would be nice if we could change this, but nobody’s going to die if we don’t. You’ve got these latent problems that are aspirational. Well, it’s tough to get those things sold and solved because it’s really just not that important. The one that you’re looking for is the one that’s in the top right-hand corner of the graphic. If you’re looking at the graphic now, you see where I’m coming from. Where you’ve got that’s where the biggest white… you’re looking for the biggest white space and if the white space is around a blatant problem, that you could say, “You’ve got a blatant problem over here and it’s critical that you solve it.”

George: All right, now we should write a talk track or a value proposition around that. A few of the exercises that I would like you to go home and try, or if you’re at home, stay there and try them is I want you to identify some problems. And then, yeah, I want you to work on writing a talk track on how your solution set solves those problems. Here’s the problem, I need more customers. Now that probably is an aspirational thing and it’s not something that’s really urgent or critical. I need more customers. Now, what if you had bought a whole bunch of bananas and those bananas were nearing end of life? The product or service that you are offering, it’s a product called bananas and you’ve had them for a while and now it becomes more urgent that you have to sell those bananas. Because they’re going to rot or you’re going to have to just donate them as a food bank or something like that.

George: That’s where it changes from selling. It’d be nice to sell a product or, no, I have to sell the product because it’s about to come to its end of life and it’s going to cost me some money. By finding that sense of urgency or finding things that are critical for various reasons, we want you to be thinking about that when you’re working on those talk tracks. Here’s another problem, I have a slow website. You’re working with a customer, you run a needs analysis, you run a snapshot report, you find out that the prospect has a slow website. You can go to that customer and you say, “You have a slow website and here’s some things that we could do to improve it.” You see that there’s your talk track that you’ve written and the value proposition is, “We’re going to work on your website.” But unless you connect some sort of urgency to that conversation, it is actually a latent problem, it’s not a blatant problem.

George: If you could prove to that business person that they were losing business because they have a slow website, you see where I’m going with this and with these exercises where you could just say, “Here’s the things that I’m trying to solve for the customer.” But if you tie some urgency or tie a critical need or tie a buyer persona that has a critical need to it, now you’re able to write a value proposition that will give you some action and a faster action than, “No, I just need some more traffic to my website.” Like that is latent, that is aspirational. It’s going to take a long time to move that forward. It’s not just about writing the value proposition of how you solve the problem, but it’s also about attaching some urgency to that value proposition. That’s an art, and it’s something that needs to be practiced over and over and over again. It’s going to be different for different types of customers.



George: That’s really the thing that I love about sales is there’s no two presentations that are exactly alike. You’re like, “Oh, I just went and did the same presentation I did three days ago.” No, if you’ve done it correctly and you have done the needs analysis, you’ve written the talk track that solves it, it’s going to be unique every time. Then the other thing is based upon the type of person that you’re dealing with, you’re going to have to be a chameleon. It’s one of the most important skills that a salesperson can develop, is that ability to be a chameleon and to pivot the presentation or the value proposition based upon whether it is a blatant or a latent need, or whether it’s an aspirational problem or critical problem that you’re solving. When you see the graphic that we’ve attached to this, it paints it very clearly.

George: We also put in there a couple of these exercises where you come up with what the problem is and then you work on writing a value proposition with that lens of blatant, latent, aspirational, and critical. Value propositions, writing those scripts, those vignettes and talk tracks will help you be more effective when you go out to try and conquer local. These are George’s Top Tips. My name is George Leith, I’ll see you when I see you.

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