Salespeople (and their leaders) ask me what they can do to be more compelling. By that they mean how can they motivate their clients and dream clients to take action. Here’s the thing: If you want to be compelling, find out what is already compelling. Move to higher, more strategic level of value creation.
Discover What Is Already Compelling: There is a reason that the front end of the sales process is where all of the value is created. Early in the process, you have an opportunity to discover what is already motivating the contacts within your client company. You have a chance to understand where they believe they need to go, their pressing challenges, and the opportunities they are working towards. Discovering what is already compelling to your clients is the first step to creating a higher, more strategic, level of value.
Tie Your Solutions to Strategic Issues: If your prospective client is going to take action, upset the status quo, and make changes, they aren’t going to do it to produce poorer results. They’re going to take action so they can produce dramatically better results. Your job is to help them tie those results to their company’s strategic issues. You create a higher level of value when you help your clients with their goals, their strategic initiatives. That is, in part, what makes you compelling.
Move Up and Gain Support: You can learn a lot by working with contacts at all levels, but if you want executive sponsorship (and you do want—need—executive sponsorship), then you need to move up your client’s organization chart and gain support. If you learn enough on your way up, you can tie your initiative to executive leadership’s initiatives. This is part of the way you create value through the process, and helps a lot when you need executive support as you execute.
Make People Uncomfortable: Look, if you are going to be a trusted advisor, you are going to have the difficult conversations about risks and rewards. You are going to have to talk about the risks of underinvesting. You are going to have talk openly about the big changes that are going to need to occur for your client to succeed—for you to succeed together. And you are going to have talk about the rewards, monetary and otherwise. Little hinges don’t swing big doors. What makes you strategic is your willingness to deal with the biggest, nastiest, foulest issues.
Do you know what is already compelling your clients?
Can you tie your solution to what is motivating your clients now?
Do you have executive sponsorship for your opportunities? What do you need to do to get it?
Will you go there? Will you give the elephant a name and tame him?