Don’t Mistake the Example for the Principle

Every day for the last several weeks, I receive an email or a message on LinkedIn or Facebook Messenger from someone who has read Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away From Your Competition. Most of these notes are to inform me that the contents of the book are helping them to produce better sales results, and a good many of them are around the language I used to demonstrate how one might prospect effectively.

The language goes something like, “I am calling to ask you for a 20-minute briefing where I can share with you the four trends that we see having the biggest impact on businesses like yours over the next 18 to 24 months?”

The language is my attempt to share what works now, making it practical and tactical. One of my biggest complaints as a reader is when authors who teach provide a concept without demonstrating it in a way that makes it easy to put to use. I have endeavored to make all three books something a field book, something you can use. However, that said, I don’t want you to cheat yourself of the principle behind the practical and tactical application.

The principle that undergirds the sample language above is the Trading Value Rule. The Trading Value Rule says that one must provide an equal or greater amount of value for the commitment they are seeking to gain. You violate this rule when you say, “I’d like to stop by, introduce myself, tell you about my company, and learn a little about you and your business.” I didn’t decide that this offer trades too little value; the prospective clients we call on concluded it offers too little value in trade for their time.

Here’s what you need to know. The language works now, in part, because it is a new and novel approach and one that now indicates that the person making the ask has something worth trading twenty-minutes to obtain. But the real power is in the principle: Trading Value.

When you realize the principle, you open up more opportunities to trade value. You could offer to analyze your dream client’s current processes and give a report on what they might need to do differently to produce better results. You could offer to share an assessment of the industry to show where the industry is going and what makes one a leader or a laggard in the industry. You could do something as simple as inviting your dream client to a customer forum to listen to you, and some of your existing clients share the changes you believe are necessary to do better work together in the future.

The principle here is more than the example in Eat Their Lunch. Moreover, it applies broadly across all the commitments you need from your clients, which is why I published a chapter in Trading Value in The Lost Art of Closing before releasing Eat Their Lunch.

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"In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall."

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