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Posted 28 Jun, 2017 | Posted in: Newsletter | Tagged: ,

You are sitting across the table from an important influencer within your customer’s buying center. You scheduled this meeting to outline how your new product helps the customer’s teams improve performance. You present one customer value prop after another, so many in fact, there’s no way you can lose.

Except for one thing.

The value proposition that the influencer cares about most is lost in the myriad features, benefits, and perhaps even value. How do you get your value message to resonate with the influencer?

This question was in my mind on a recent road trip when I saw a simple billboard for an upcoming rest-stop. The billboard only had three things on it, a picture of an ice cream cone, the name of the rest-stop and the distance.  I realized I had seen that billboard for the same rest-stop earlier with a different message and had not taken note of it. Now I was watching for the next one and thinking of ice cream.

Still thinking of the ice cream a few miles later one of my children announced they had to use the bathroom. I thought this would be a good excuse to stop and get a treat. To my surprise, the next billboard appeared and this time their message was “Clean Restrooms in 5 miles.” They understood my need and delivered the message at the right time, resulting in a successful advertising campaign.

I noticed many billboards that day. Some were so crowded with messages that I could not process them before the opportunity passed. I realized that what made the rest stop billboards so effective was the white space. How do we use white space in our sales conversations?

The rest stop had many value props to share, but rather than throw them to drivers all at once, they provided the right message, one at a time. From a sales perspective, conversational white space ensures your audience can process the impact of the value you are discussing and replicate the message where needed. This is especially important if the value does not impact them directly. They may have to become an advocate for your message and carry it through the organization to the real decision maker.

So, the next time you are developing a call plan, consider how one message, that is the message that affects the member of the buying center with whom you are meeting, might be more powerful than many, while true, might not resonate. Use white space to help your message sink in and, quite possibly, create champions within your customer’s organization.

Travis UmplebyWritten by Travis Umpleby

Travis Umpleby is a Business Consulting Manager at Holden Advisors.

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