15/10/2015 | Skills
I was with some investors earlier this week who focus on relatively early stage businesses who need help in the commercialisation of their product/service. As we discussed the challenges that businesses in that phase of their development face, a recurrent theme was the inability (sometimes unwillingness) of the founders to embrace the need for a professional (i.e. not those idiots on The Apprentice!) approach to selling. The ‘demo’ was still seen as the primarily selling tool – ‘the technology’s so good, it sells itself.’
What surprises me is that this narrow view is still prevalent today. There is a never-ending stream of information about how to create your go-to-market strategy available via the Internet, and the airport shops are still jam-packed with the latest business books on selling techniques for all sorts of businesses. (On this point I always find it fascinating that skills such as selling and managing people can apparently be mastered in only ‘One Minute’ – they’re obviously simple things to do!). Indeed our own Three ‘C’ methodology starts with Characterising the business you want and where you are most likely to find it and ends with the types of Conduct most likely to achieve success when you see it. As a hint, the demonstration of capability should be done at the end of the sales process (you do have a sales process don’t you?) not at the beginning and only once you have fully understood all of the challenges faced by all of the people in the decision-making process and are confident you have mapped these against your core strengths to produce a genuinely compelling case to buy. Only then has the demonstration/webinar got real value for the prospective client as a solution to real business issues. So next time you tell people you sell solutions to particular business problems, ask yourself, ‘are we genuinely trying to understand our prospects’ issues before establishing if we can help or are we just pitching a great product and hoping they’ll get it like we do?’
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