This time I answer questions around:
- Value selling
- Conversations versus presentations and…
- Why my client list is confidential!
Let’s get into it…
Q1: I recently read something that you wrote saying “too many high value sales opportunities are over before they even begin” what does that mean?
A1: Good question. I wrote that headline for a presentation I gave. The essence is this; there are sales organisations and sales people all over the world talking about “selling the value” of their offering. I hear it all of the time. In principle it’s correct, but in practice too many companies are not effectively doing this, even though they think they are. The issue is that saying that you are doing something is very different from actually doing it. When it comes to value selling, I observe that often sales are not starting from a place of exploring value. Instead the focus is on “what xyz company does” and “how they do it”.
This starting point reduces the focus on valuable outcomes/results and starts to position your offering is just another commodity (this is not good). Then sales people attempt to differentiate and establish value later in the sales process. I propose that this approach is the wrong way around. If you don’t lead with a value conversation, which is not “what you do” and “how it works”, then the high value sale is much harder to establish.
Q2: My company relies on powerpoint decks for sales presentations to customers. I feel our decks are too long and complex…any tips on what a good sales deck should include?
A2: How about not relying on them at all?! I am just not a fan of using powerpoint to sell. There is a time and place for it in certain sales situations of course. I am making an assumption here that your initial meeting with a prospect consists of a presentation deck showing them, who you are, your credibility and capability, your geo reach, case studies etc etc. – and you are not alone. This is a very common approach.
My advice, don’t even take a laptop with you to the initial meeting! Have a conversation with the prospect, where you take time to understand what they are looking for and why, what they need from a supplier, who they are and whether you would be a suitable partner. Be genuine and build trust. Differentiate through the way you sell and not just through your offering. Let them ask you questions, listen more talk less and please, resist the urge to unload facts and “benefits’ of your company. Thats just so boring!
Over to you…
Q3: You don’t tend to broadcast your client list…why not?
A3: Interesting question! And you are right. I don’t publicly promote my retainer or consulting clients. It’s not “top secret” or anything but I choose to keep my work with them “confidential”. Firstly, several of my clients requested that we keep our engagement confidential. So in those situations I don’t have a choice. But it occurred to me that there is actually little benefit broadcasting who I work with.
Here is why; I only work with a handful of clients a year and deliberately so. My offering is not a mass market pitch, so bragging that I am working with everyone is, firstly, just not true, but also I don’t need to show my credibility by showing that I work with the world’s leading brands (which I don’t necessarily).
Instead I focus on delivering valuable and bespoke outcomes for my clients and letting them refer me based on the quality of work. That’s just my approach and maybe that will change over time but for now I feel “confidentiality” is the right approach.