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Note to sales #28. Become a Challenger

Posted: 19th August 2016

Let’s take a scenario:  You are looking to set up a new website and you book meetings to see two designers.

Designer 1 faithfully records all your requirements, promises a quick turnaround and cheap rates.

Designer 2 questions your ideas, pointing out that perhaps your plan is fine for desktop readers but not so good on mobile devices. S/he makes you think again.

Which designer now has the most credibility with you?

If you asked most sales people in our industry what they thought was their most important part of their job, “understanding the client’s requirements" would be a popular response.

This is fine if you are the order-taker variety of manager, but not enough if you are working for an independent, generating your own deals and always up against competition - then understanding requirements is simply not enough.

To be credible to your client, you have to go one step further: to be able to reframe (or tweak) requirements in such a way that you are adding value via your understanding of the problem, before you start introducing any solution.

One you have credibility, you have trust…and trust comes with a premium.

In the example above Designer 2 is 25% more expensive that Designer 1, but you are willing to pay more because you feel that s/he will add hugely to the value of the website.  In fact you would be suspicious if s/he charged less!

If you want to stand out you need to probe requirements, to understand the client context even better than they do.  It's tough, but doing this will win you business against cheaper deals.

The good news is that once you embrace this way of working (i.e. challenging the client and producing insights before wheeling out solutions), then not only will you be more successful, but it’s also more fun.  You forget about "selling" and start thinking about “contributing”.

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