Creating a Higher Value ConversationDecember 29, 2015 | By Wayne O'Neill
I’m going to let you in on one of my trade secrets.
Go-to-market strategies aren’t actually about selling or marketing. They’re not about RFPs, interviews, services and resumes.
They’re about human behavior.
Once you’ve got that initial foot in the door, the conversation that occurs is critical. It’s where you introduce yourself, yes – but more importantly, it’s where the client reveals the truth of what’s on their mind.
Making the connection during this conversation will get you farther than filling out an RFP will. Done right, it will help you connect your product or service to the issue that the client is really concerned about.
The Most Critical Minutes in Any Client Conversation
I’ve seen this time and time again. It happens without fail during every client interaction.
People get really “human” in the last 5-10 minutes of a business conversation.
After all the market talk is over, after they’ve asked all the questions they planned to ask, and after they’ve gotten everything out of their system, clients get real.
In those last few minutes of your meeting, the client will lob something at you that seems really unrelated to the conversation up to that point. It’s usually some obscure business or political issue that you didn’t see coming.
This is what you need to pay attention to.
This is the important issue that’s hiding in plain sight.
It’s always there.
If you pay attention, you can identify it earlier in the process – and this is ideal. If you can identify the issue before the client verbalizes it, you can start thinking up ideas. Then when they broach the subject, you’re prepared to address it.
Clients aren’t really interested in the minutiae of your offering. They don’t really care what your resume says. They may think they care – but they don’t. What they do care about is what’s driving them crazy at the moment. They care about the challenge they’re facing from a business or political standpoint, and how quickly they can get their hands on a solution.
The Bottom Line
Pay close attention to the last 5-10 minutes of your client interaction. Something is going to come out and surprise you. Or, a more advanced maneuver is to anticipate what that “real” issue could be and prepare yourself to address it.
Uncovering the real issue – not just paying attention to what goes in the RFP – is the most effective way to secure new work and build long-lasting, high-revenue accounts.