FlipMyFunnel Post, Other

How Do You Earn the Right to Do Business with Your Prospects?

This post is based on a podcast with Michael McCunney. If you’d like to listen to more #FlipMyFunnel Podcast episodes, you can check them out here and listen to this episode below!

Maybe you shouldn’t be selling to that person, even if they can easily afford it.


Because sometimes your solution won’t fix their problem.

As Mark Twain once wrote, “We can’t reach old age by another man’s road. My habits protect my life, but they would assassinate you.”

Think about your prospects’ problems, not your solution.

If you want to see a company that’s learned how to put their prospects’ challenges first, listen to today’s episode of the Flip My Funnel podcast. We spoke with Michael McCunney, Vice President, Marketing at Revenue Analytics.

Michael and I talked about why marketers need to speak to their prospect’s pain and sometimes tell them “no, we can’t help you.”

Here’s what we’re unpacking today:

  • Fun Fact
  • Secret Sauce: Distill Your Value Proposition
  • Bringing Value to Every Touch Point in the Customer Journey
  • Don’t Preach Your Solutions, Preach Their Problems
  • Earn Your Customers’ Time and Trust
  • Sangram’s Summary
  • Michael’s Challenge

Fun Fact:

McCunney has been a home brewer for many years.

“My wife puts up with it, which is nice,” said McCunney. “We used to do it indoors, then my wife bought me an outdoor kit. And I was like, ‘She’s really supporting my hobby.’ She’s like, ‘Get out of the kitchen.’ I was like, ‘Oh, okay, that’s cool.’”

Secret Sauce: Distill Your Value Proposition

Bringing Value to Every Touch Point in the Customer Journey

Recently, Revenue Analytics revamped their website to mirror their vertical go-to-market strategy. Prospects self-select their experience of the site by self-selecting their industry.

The “choose your own adventure” conceit creates a very industry-specific experience. By concentrating their message, it resonated deeply with their prospects.

“We were visiting this very large client,” recalled McCunney. “Prior to our arrival, the boss was showing the rest of the executive team our site. And he said, ‘I can tell you know my industry. It is so clear you guys are experts in this field of media.’”

<“It’s that super dorky feeling as a marketer that you get psyched. I did it. I actually connected with someone.” — Michael McCunney>

This industry specific language established credibility. They used the insider verbiage, not to create word salad, but to show the client that they didn’t have to educate the vendor, the vendor was already deeply steeped in their world.

It gives the customers the sense that you will be easy to work with. You get it.

Don’t Preach Your Solutions, Preach Their Problems

Everyone thinks that they are customer-centric, but most aren’t. Most sales and marketing are focused on flogging their solutions.

McCunney thought “let’s flip that on its head” and decided to reverse engineer solutions to their customers’ problems.

Instead of having a Solutions page, they have “My Challenges.” From My Challenges, they have distilled it down into three or four different concise sentences or blurbs.

The focus is relentlessly on what is their pain, and a message that says they can help solve it without getting into specifics.

Earn Your Customer’s Time and Trust

A salesperson can sometimes close a sale by respecting where the customer is in their buyer’s journey. McCunney had this experience with a Terminus salesperson.

In a previous position, McCunney was interested in Terminus’ software, but the company he worked for could only afford the bare-bones version. Amanda the Terminus rep told him, “If you’re not going to spend this level with us Michael, frankly this isn’t the right time for you.”

McCunney was floored. He was more interested than ever, but he realized that she was right about his current company not being ready for the product.

When he switched organizations and realized that Terminus was a good fit for his new company, he wanted his old rep Amanada to get the sale. She had proved that she cared, had integrity, and morals. This made McCunney want to work with the company as well as her personally.

Saying “no” is sometimes the right thing to do because it will create respect on both sides.

Sangram’s Summary

The first thing is the hardest to do — distill it down, simplify. How do we make sure that people will understand it — simply. I think the hardest thing I’ve ever done is writing fewer words.

The second thing is, why do we talk about solutions? Why don’t we talk about the problems? Make the conversation about your customer. Focus on the customer’s challenges.

If a prospect reads on your website about the challenges you help solve, but the challenges don’t resonate with that prospect, chances are you’re going to lose them at some point in the sales process anyway. Better to lose them early.

When you ask for the prospect’s time, you better know that you can help solve their challenges. If you can’t, tell them so. If you can, you’ve earned the right to sell to them.

Michael’s Challenge:

I think all of us have that challenge of distilling things. In the spirit of having some fun with social, why don’t we have a Twitter challenge where users @Sangram with the hashtag #DistillMarketing:

Give us your distilled value proposition in less than 100 characters.