I learned a better approach interviewing hundreds of customers for dozens of firms. Becoming the easy and clearly better choice flies in the face of a lot of conventional marketing wisdom. You must change how you see your marketing and business development. Fortunately, no magic dust or leaps of faith are required.
As Easy As 1-2-3
Each of the three elements is simple, yet breaks with the conventional marketing wisdom:
- How people make decisions
- Focus on why you are the best choice for a given client and situation
- Re-think your perspective to become the easy choice.
Ok, it’s not easy. But, it’s not hard either. Instead of straining to try to be “different,” your new clients will see you as the best choice when you focus on how you will improve their business.
#1. Decisions: More Information Isn’t Better
We all want to believe that lots of logical information makes it easier for clients to select our firms. But that’s not true. Research shows that relationships begin with an emotional connection. Clients decide who they want to work with remarkably early in the process, then use logic to rationalize the decision they’ve already made. They think they’re acting logically, but research shows that’s not the case.
When you pile on too much detail before you’ve connected emotionally, you actually make it harder for the client to make a decision. Then, once the client makes an emotional decision to work with you, they need different information to close the deal.
Expertise is much less of a factor than you think.
#2. Being the Best Choice Is Better than Being “Different”
Prospective clients care about their business, not yours. When you strain to tell clients how you’re “different,” what you’re really doing is talking about yourself.
Unless you know why your best clients select your firm above other options, and clearly understand the prospective clients needs and goals, it’s hard to demonstrate why you are the best choice. It doesn’t feel right because you’re selling.
Your best clients select your firm because of how your improve their business. Experience from hundreds of customer interviews makes it clear that most professionals underestimate the overall impact they create.
#3. Help the Prospect by Being the Easy Choice
The final step is to re-think your business development process with the singular intent of demonstrating to the prospective client that you are the best choice for their situation and needs. You do this by shifting your focus from what you do to how what you do improves the client’s business. You go from selling a tool to an investment return.
When you are the clear and easy choice for your ideal clients:
- The sales cycle shortens, and fewer of your ideal clients get away*
- Price is much less of an issue
- It’s easier. Your business development process feels more like helping than selling. When you have to do less “selling,” it’s easier to engage more people — internal and referral partners — in developing business for your firm. This is powerful leverage.
* You may not even be aware when you lose “ideal clients” to “do nothing” rather than a competitor. Either way, they aren’t helping you grow.