At one point in my career as a sales leader, I commissioned a designer to create a slide deck about my company. Naturally, the slide deck started with my company’s history, the many awards we’d won, the logos of the well-recognized companies we served, and a very complete rundown of our processes and methodologies, including what we did differently from our competitors. It was a beautiful slide deck with a killer design, and a lot of prospective clients appreciated knowing who we were and how we generated results.
But the challenge I had with prospects and clients wasn’t that they didn’t know enough about my company. The problem was that they didn’t know enough about how they should be operating in the changing environment. I didn’t need to teach them about my company; I needed to teach them about their company. I needed them to discover something about themselves, so they would start making changes inside their company—in addition to bringing my company on as a partner. To do this, I began to capture the data, keeping it all in what I called an “insights deck.”
Instead of sharing anything about my company at the beginning of a discovery meeting, I started sharing the insights deck. The information caused my prospective clients to ask me questions, and then to ask questions to the other people on their team. The questions were about the implications of the data, which I presented with minimal commentary, other than my views and values. The conversations invariably ended up leading to a second meeting, without me mentioning anything about my company. Once the client knew how we thought about the issues and challenges they were facing, they knew what they needed to know.
The deck I had designed was much prettier than my insight deck. In all the years that I used that deck, no one ever asked me for a copy, even though we may have forced it on some people to prove we were worth hiring.
The insights deck, however, never failed to cause a prospective client to ask for a copy. When I asked why they needed a copy, the answer was always the same: “I need to present this information to the rest of the people on our leadership team. They need to see this.”
I wrote out this process in Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition. Every few days, I get an email or a LinkedIn message from a salesperson who has read the book and adopted the strategy to great effect. They are not only getting more meetings, but they are also creating more new opportunities.
When you pick up Eat Their Lunch, send me your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send you the workbook and an invite to the Facebook Group.
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Filed under: Sales