Lawyers, accountants, system integrators, SEO consultants, architects,web developers, artists, fund managers we are all marketing and selling these days. But when you are selling a person’s expertise, when the person is the product – what changes? Some thoughts –
- Great writing enables prospects to understand the unique insights and experience of your practice.
- Marketing collateral is very rarely great journalism but it should be.
- Ideas spread because of stickiness (compelling story), contagiousness (why the messenger is unreasonably important), context (human beings are ultra sensitive to their environment) – Tipping Point, Gladwell.
- Attention is the rarity factor so content better be remarkable.
- Tone down the selling and tone up the total value to the reader.
- Your words are your product to most prospects.
- Separate the idea from the writing. Scope it, outline it, state the problem, show the real symptoms, describe the solution in a story that sounds authentic and describe the results actually achieved.
- Make follow on action by prospects frictionless and attractive.
- Talk to personas, specific people not companies. Translating domain expertise into personal performance improvements of your prospects.
- Understand the type of narrative you are creating and adjust your style accordingly – promotional, explanatory, educational, developmental (Bloom Group)
- Look for stories that resonate across sectors to increase the odds of action.
- Remember, only 2 reasons buyers don’t buy: I don’t have this problem and I don’t believe your solution. (Money can always be found for attractive projects)
- Laconic writing is easier to pass on and share.
- All communication must repeat the same big insights with each piece of prose consistent with those messages. (Seth Godin is world class at it)
- Simplification, bringing meaning to the signals is a powerful selling tool.
- It is tempting to explain the quality & depth of your experience by delivering the premature presentation method but it will fail.
- Professionally interrogate prospects in a friendly conversational style to discover real symptoms and their impact on the performance of a prospect. Recognizing when you can’t solve a problem gives you a distinct advantage.
- Always act as if you are financially independent.
- Don’t over specify your solution. Recap early and often what your solution delivers and build no more and no less into your proposal.
- Position yourself and your company as a problem solver in your prospects mind. And ensure your unique skills translate into improved performance for your prospect e.g. a narrow technical skill set such as Digital Content Governance TRANSLATES to helping Frank the CIO of a large enterprise, mitigate risk and ensure that IT supports regulatory requirements. You are improving the personal performance of Frank not some abstract value proposition for IBM.
- Authenticity comes from telling stories that you have lived through. Share details of roadblocks got round and solutions that failed. Sound human. Sound real.
- Understand the quality of your competition but always be ready to reposition them as a solution to a problem the prospect doesn’t have.
- Ensure junior consultants see great selling in action. Selling is a contact sport.
- Understand your prospects world as well as you understand your own solution.
- Delivering a first class speech that an audience enjoys and can use is a selling activity.
- Weak payment terms turn attractive projects into cash flow nightmares.