Wide vs. Deep and How to Avoid Product Push.
I have several clients whose product or service offering is so broad that it presents a challenge with new prospects. How do you cover all options while remaining customer-focused? How do you fully describe what you do without getting trapped in “telling not selling” mode? You don’t want opportunities to go unexplored, but you also need to keep a laser focus on your customer needs.
Let’s start with some basic do’s and don’ts:
- Don’t launch into a demo or capabilities presentation. “Show up and throw up” is exactly the wrong way to convince a prospect that you add value.
- I’ve had people try to secure an appointment with me by saying “It’s too hard to explain quickly. I need an hour of your time to do it all justice”. This is merely the promise of a kitchen sink capabilities show…ouch.
- Avoid poorly formulated interrogation. Asking questions is good. Piling questions together until they feel like an interrogation is unproductive. Asking questions that show you don’t know anything about the prospect is an unforgivable sin.
Don’t tell your prospect what your offer does for them.
- Build Credibility from before your first conversation. Do all the research you should, understand the results your prospect seeks, bring insights on better ways to achieve them. Prepare well enough that you can provide valued perspective from the first meeting to the last.
- Understand your prospect’s entire value landscape and all of the ways your offer can deliver value to the customer, then help your customer realize them.
- If you have a broad scope of potential solutions, find a consistent theme that you can discuss with your prospect, and confirm that theme.
- Explore your offer’s value and monetize it with your prospect: let your prospect tell you what the impact of your offer is to them.
The broader your capability set, the more important it is that you become a trusted resource. A customer must trust you to stitch your complex capability set into a solution to their unique problems. Product push and interrogation doesn’t build that credibility. Perspective selling does.
My version of this challenge
I’m lucky enough to have faced my own “broad capability” challenge for the last 5 years. It’s gotten even more challenging recently as my company’s portfolio has grown more. We’ve developed the theme “the most complete resource for sales leaders”. It’s accurate, but like so many themes, it’s hard to hear that and know what all it means, but it works well enough. The next level of detail provides enough to explain the breadth of the offer without drowning a prospect:
Who else has this:
- Sales and Marketing Alignment. From Demand generation to demand progression, into the top of your sales funnel.
- Playbooks to systematize your sellers, and provide a framework for continuous improvement
- Sales methodologies: Behaviors which drive sales success, and skills which underpin behaviors. The most complete set of skills and methodology trainng available
- Value Discipline: a methodology that runs from sales all the way through the company to build valuable products and services, and then price them fairly.
- Salesforce automation, monitoring, and metrics tracking.
- Learning tools: multiple solutions to prepare before, support sustain and enrich.
- Sales leader coaching, because front line sales managers are the lynchpin to your sales organization’s success
- Service solutions to improve every part of the customer’s journey
- Leveraging Data into measurable change
- Channel partner management solutions to get the highest performance out of the channel.
Believe me. I know your pain. It’s definitely a first world problem. How to excel in that environment is pretty straightforward. Selling a strong capability means doing everything you should normally be doing at an even higher level.
Do you have difficulty establishing th credibility to deliver perspective? Contact me, and let’s figure it out together.
To your success,