some people try to sell their capabilities. they pitch what they can do for you or your organization, generally related to being or making something better, faster, cheaper, or more efficient than someone else. they peddle their wares, sometimes with cold calls but a lot of times with advertising. while they almost never say it, they often start their pitches off with “now that i have your attention for the next n minutes…” but the problem is they usually don’t.
they have moments, not minutes, to convince you that their capabilities are worth your investment in both time and money. they have to prove to you and other decision makers that you want to buy from them. with so many competitors, that’s difficult to do. so they lay out their pitch filled with metrics, and demos, and dozens upon dozens of superlatives before wrapping it up at the end by asking for money. “let us know how we can help you” really means, “let us know when you want to buy something.”
the alternative, however, is to sell yourself vice your capabilities. you don’t pitch what you can do to improve someone’s organization. instead, take the time to build relationships. you may be better, faster, cheaper, or more efficient than others, but you’re not selling that—you’re selling an indispensable resource: you.
when you don’t advertise and you give yourself and your abilities away for free; when you spend the time to educate people and help them solve their problems right now, without asking for payment; when you let people see your true work, not a demonstration, and give them a reason to trust in you.
that’s when you delight customers and win market share.
you can approach your relationships with your customers as an “us versus them” situation. you can demonize them. you can sit on the other side of the table. you can push your own agenda. you can point to a million reasons why something is or isn’t going to work.
or you can put down the excuse matrix and start collaborating. you can listen, actively. you can put yourself, your name, and your organization out there on a limb, ready to create something special. you can delight your customers instead.
i’ve come to observe that good ideas have a very short lifespan to work out.
you might have someone stay behind to ask questions after you give a presentation, have someone approach you after reading a whitepaper, have someone respond to an online posting, etc.. in all cases, though, it seems as though there’s a very short amount of time to actually do something with that attention.
if you wait too long, don’t follow up, or spend your time asking for permission you’re going to lose that person and your idea isn’t going to spread. don’t ask permission: JUST GO (and apologize later)
you want my business, right? Â you want me to choose you over your competitors, yeah?
let me give you a hint: ordinary is not unordinary.
as i’m currently in the new car market, i’m taking a look at just about every car makerÂ under the sun right now (except dodge/chrysler/jeep). Â this new car has to be the car i keep for a good while becauseÂ i plan on saving up for a house or condo; i just want to upgrade my car while my trade-in is still a good value. Â the one thing i’ve seen â€” from everyone! â€” has been really incredible: auto makers and dealers trying to sell me on things that are truly pedestrian…
AM/FM radio? Â ordinary.
CD player? Â ordinary.
power windows? Â ordinary.
floor mats? Â ordinary.
rear window defogger? Â ordinary.
air conditioning? Â ordinary.
cup holders?! Â ordinary!
if you’re selling cars, boats, motorcycle sidecars, televisions, mobile phones.. yourself to a potential employer (or your organization to a potential employee!) .. whatever it is if you expect to sell, you have to remove the ordinary from your sales pitch. Â you won’t earn new business by selling what everyone else has. Â you need to differentiate yourself. Â you need to identify where your product, services, or skills are different from the next closest competitor. Â first, identify those areas, thenÂ sell that.
if you’re looking for a job, to hire a new employee, or to sell more cars, you have to make yourself special.
ordinary is not unordinary.