Are You Using The Vanguard Principle In your Sales Process? Blog Feature


Katie Lanpher

By: Katie Lanpher on August 29th, 2019

Are You Using The Vanguard Principle In your Sales Process?

The sales and marketing game has changed. The new digital buyer wants a personalized experience, complete with people and resources that educate them so they can make the right purchasing decision. It’s become less about selling and much more about listening, communicating and, with your help, empowering your prospects to arrive at a solution that is just right for them.

Marcus Sheridan’s Class on World Class Communication really helped me understand on a deeper level how the way we communicate will impact our buyer’s perception of us. His class advised we embrace and get comfortable with any objections our prospects have around the products or services we offer so we do not sabotage our efforts to help them. While Marcus presented several World Class Communication Principles in his class, as someone in marketing who works closely with sales to help market and sell our services and solutions, one of his principles in particular really resonated with me. Today we’ll talk about using the Vanguard Principle to help build the trust your prospective buyers have in your business.

Mastering the Art of Communication to Build Trust

Before we go into detail about what the Vanguard Principle is, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the reason communication plays such an important role in sales and marketing. If you ask Marcus Sheridan, he’ll say it all boils down to trust. Going about a purchase of any kind involves exchanging money for goods and services if, and only if, you have trust. We have to feel trust in the seller and we have to feel trust in the product or solution we are evaluating. Now more than ever, this trust has to come through in our sales and marketing activities. While it seems like common sense, I realized how little we practice common sense communication in the day to day whirlwind.

Your Reaction to Objections Can Make or Break Trust

For sales representatives and marketers alike, part of the job description is to make sure products and services appeal to buyers, so when faced with objections, we often don’t know what to do with them. Historically, the approach would go something like this:

Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. Instead of addressing objections head on, sales and marketers have a bad habit of hoping the objections just don’t come up. But no matter how hard we hope, objections will always present themselves. 

For most businesses, one of the most avoided conversations is the one on cost. We shy away from talking about it until we have to. When the topic comes up, as it so inevitably will, we talk about the value the product, service, or solution will bring, the value our people bring or how we are so different from the competition. But because of our lack of confidence and our hesitance to talk about the subject in the first place, we start over-explaining. It’s as if we’re trying to dig ourselves out of a hole that, we of our own stubborn will, leaped into. But here’s the thing: Studies actually show the longer you spend justifying what you charge, the lower your closing rates get. Seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

Make a Change & Get in Front of Your Objections!

Making a sale requires you to build up your credibility, but the approach so many take, especially on the topic of cost, actually causes buyers to have less confidence in the solutions you are presenting. Marcus Sheridan’s Vanguard Principle can be used to address this.

So what is the Vanguard Principle? Historically, the word vanguard refers to the first group of the Roman army that was sent into the battle. These were the people on the front lines who served as the first line of defense against any danger that presented itself.

That’s exactly what the Vanguard Principle advises: It’s the act of addressing an objection or concern before it becomes a concern. The good news is, your sales and marketing teams can serve as that Vanguard army! “Vanguarding” means becoming obsessed with resolving the concerns of your prospects before they even come to you with them.

So how can you do that? Start by getting together with leadership from all areas of your organization and define and agree upon on your biggest objections. From there, you can create content and talk tracks that actually educate your prospects around why you’ve priced your products and services the way you have, what factors cause the price to go up or down, who your products or solutions are a good fit for, and how they compare to other options that either you, or the marketplace offer. The simple act of being confident, honest, and proactive about the ‘elephant in the room,’ will change the way your customers and prospects feel about your products, services, and overall brand, creating confidence that you’ll be able to deliver on your promises. 

In a Nutshell…

Whether you are in sales or marketing, you will not reach your full potential without some serious communication skills. Mastering even this one single principle will transform the way your customers and prospective buyers view your company.

To learn more about the Vanguard Principle, or any of the other principles presented in Marcus Sheridan’s World Class Communication class, check out this blog and web cast here!

Katie Lanpher

Katie Lanpher joined the GreatAmerica Office Equipment Group in 2018 as a Content Marketing Specialist. With a background in digital marketing, she employs many tactics that contribute to the growth of the Office Equipment Group's online presence, including social media, e-marketing, and search marketing. Katie works closely with team members from varrying departments to write, edit and distribute content that our office technology dealers will find valuable as they grow their businesses.

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