This week I was creating a leave-behind piece for one of my sales reps. I passed a draft on to my boss for his feedback. He wrote back an awesome question: So what?
I guess I could have been offended (what's the point?). I could have ignored his intentions behind asking the question (to have me evaluate the message I was delivering). I could have thought, "I guess you don't get it" to give myself a reason to be lazy and not rework the piece. Instead, I decided to look at each point I had written and ask myself, "So what? Big whoop. I can see what I am trying to communicate, but will my prospects?". In the end, I realized I had a bunch of Sales-ese on that piece of paper and not a lot of value. "So what?" Exactly.
What is Sales-eese? It's like Japanese, Portuguese or Lebanese. It's a language, and unless it's your native tongue, you'll never fully understand what's being said.
Most salespeople speak it, but zero regular people speak it. We sell to regular people. You've probably come up with marketing terms, shorthand, acronyms, and the like to communicate internally. Using that language externally is Sales-ese. Sale-ese is also using important sounding phrases and meaningless combinations of words which are normally intelligible but when strung together cause confusion (and annoyance, as in "just say it regular, dude.").
Sales-ese leads to communication that, rather than being on target, is a few degrees off. Over the long haul of a sales cycle, a few degrees is the difference between hitting the bullseye and totally missing the target. Don't speak Sale-ese.
How's does this relate to "So what?" Simple. Many times, we fill up our leave-behinds, emails, and sales presentations with self-inflating Sales-ese leaving our target thinking "So what?".
If you leave someone thinking "So what?," you'll be left asking yourself "So what...happened?" because you won't be getting the sale.
[Sorry to digress but I hate Sale-ese. It is the exact opposite of Kick Ass Sales.]
Back to "So What?": If we don't ask ourselves that question, we are missing out on a great chance to tighten our message, to think critically about what we are saying, and to take a moment to view the pitch from the perspective of the person across the table.
"So what?" is the why. Why we are saying what we are. Why we aren't saying things we aren't. Why we need to start saying things we left out, and why we need to stop saying things we stupidly left in. it is the motivation that causes us to help our prospects and clients really "get" our sales pitch. If we aren't asking ourselves "So what?", our prospects are, and you aren't going to like the answer.
If it doesn't establish a direct connection between their problem and your solution, no matter how awesome it sounds, it's a BIG "So what?".
Most of what you write in emails, leave on voicemails, say on the phone, and show during your presentations is "So what?" material. That's right...most. Now's your chance to fix that.
Kick Ass Call to Action
The next 25 emails you write, ask yourself "So what?" after every feature, benefit, value statement you make (including your "can I get an appointment" emails). If that "So what?" isn't expressly communicated, you aren't making a connection. If you don't make a connection, you aren't going to Kick Ass. Get concise, rework the verbiage, and include the feature and the answer to "So what?".