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Friday, January 22, 2010

The Dreaded Process Diagram

I had coffee with one of my hero consultants last week. Over a decade ago, I watched him work with a customer, and he was magic. In an hour he gently gave the customer a better understanding of how to operate his business that lasted for years.

So now he’s older. Just talking to him I can see he is wiser. I am so happy.

Sure, sales are harder (for everyone I know), he has restructured his offering, gone downmarket.

The next day he sends his brochure and I am shocked. It’s a diagram of his process!

That’s not what he does! I saw what he does! He does magic!

Since I am basically a six year old with a hammer, it got me thinking about sales.

Why do so many presentations displace a sales opportunity with a process picture?

The idea for the sale develops in the prospect’s mind.

If I provide a diagram, it probably won’t match the mind picture. I should be working on THEIR picture.

But I like my diagram. It’s how I won the last war. I am secure I can do that again. Who cares what this new guy needs!

If the diagram doesn’t sell, I’ll add more pages!

Here’s a question. If you truly wanted to help your prospect define what they want to buy, what would you do?

I think I would ask questions to make that mental image as vivid as possible.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this particularly timely post.

    I and my CEO peers are convinced that every "experienced technology sales" person needs to leave the industry for 5 years....OR we need to put them in one of those Homer Simpson machines to deprogram their brains.

    They talk a good solution sales game, then they all bring out a network diagram or technical white paper and rush to book a demo on a server in a lab somewhere.

    I refuse to hire any salesperson with more than 5 years of recent 'technology sales' experience. Customers by their own vision of utopia - the end game experience only.

    Everything else pushes the customer back from where he already is.