Many prospects are suspicious of their potential providers. They feel like someone is always playing fast and loose with the truth. The technique I am writing about today arms your prospect with the right information and questions to give them the edge in the buying process. The trick is that this approach squarely puts your company in the strongest position. This magic trick frames the untruths and partial truths of your competitors.
The 7 Deadly Sins
For us, the 7 Deadly Sins represent the “You Must Not Do’s” of your client making a buying decision in your market space. By establishing what they are, how big a mistake they create and the questions that a prospect should ask when meeting with potential vendors, you have created trust with your prospect as well as educated them on how to avoid really big mistakes.
The following illustration is just an example. I recommend that you develop your own “7 Deadly Sins of Selecting a ______________ Partner” that is relevant to your market and industry. You will be giving the prospect these 7 Deadly Sins, written from their perspective, for them to have and use as they interview other possible competitors to you. Again, this is only an example.
7 Deadly Sins
- Certification – Ask every potential partner if they have the XYZ certification for all of their staff and locations. Many players in our market may have one or two individuals certified, but they do not have their entire staff certified, or their entire facility certified. If they do not, that is a risk because _____________.
- Diversification – Ask what the experience in your particular industry has been of the frontline people who will be doing the work and ask for background profiles for the management. Often times in the market, there is very little breadth of experience in the teams who come to do the work and all of the experience is in one or two people.
- Specification – What are the three biggest things, specifically and measurably, that you are going to get from working with a new provider? Too many claims are general and soft-cost oriented. A credible provider should be able to quantify the benefits.
- Dedication – Who is the dedicated team that will be doing the work for you? Too often, an executive team does the selling, but a less experienced team does the work. You want to know who is your team.
- Prioritization – What size is this project in the scheme of things? Are you a Top 10 account, or will you be suffering from the 11th+ position problem of priority with your possible provider.
- Concentration – What portion of the business that your potential partner does is in your industry and market? If it is less than X%, then the relevance to your business issues and forward thinking necessary for good partnership just isn’t there.
- Integration – How will the company manage knowledge transfer and cultural match ups? Your business will require integration between people from your company and any partner, do they have a plan that is clear for how that will happen to get the maximum value out of this new relationship, or is it just a punch list and an onboarding schedule?
In building your own list, you are considering all of the untruths and partial truths of your industry. Similar to the 5 Myths, this is designed to give the ‘real story’ to your prospects to make them better buyers. By doing that, you are giving yourself the opportunity to show your real value in a tight and often commoditized marketplace.