“Treat objections as requests for further information.” – Brian Tracy
I had to get the windows in my home cleaned yesterday. There was a nice young gentleman who came over, he was polite and quiet. He proceeded to clean all of the windows inside and out over the course of a few hours. My house has a lot of windows, many of them floor to ceiling and some as high as two stories. There is not a lot of sunlight in Seattle, so the big windows help a lot in the wintertime.
When it came time to settle the bill, he politely asked me if we’d ever had the roof cleaned as he had noticed a little moss growing in a few places. I said no. He lit up with enthusiasm – this mild-mannered, quiet guy practically erupted with energy. You would have thought that I’d given him the chance to jump on a stage and perform a guitar solo with his favorite band. He had been patiently waiting for this conversation.
He immediately launched into how Johnny Tsunami had perfected a technique for keeping the moss off the roof permanently. Their approach was non-toxic, environmentally safe, and less expensive than the traditional solutions. He goes on to explain that just power washing the moss leaves the spores alive and the moss eventually grows back; with the Johnny Tsunami solution, they treat the house every other month in about half the time and at half the cost.
I was in awe… as a sales guy, I love being sold, even if I’m not going to buy. I marveled at his technique. He had his pitch down, suggestive selling by pointing out a problem, positioning their unique solution, why the traditional approach was flawed, and then trying to close the deal with the Johnny Tsunami value proposition. One thing to point out here is that he was excited that I said no, not yes because he knew that was his opportunity to capture my interest. Most people think sales is about getting to the YESES but it’s really about responding to the NOS.
As I pondered his pitch and asked a few questions, he then took the opportunity to tell me about the company, Johnny Tsunami. How the owner Johnny started the company, how they picked the name, and how much he enjoyed working there. While I believe that he really enjoyed working for the company, it was also part of the pitch. He’d done good work but wanted to affirm that working with the company would be as great an experience for me as it had been for him. At this point in time, I was really impressed with the whole process. This guy who was a technical resource had delivered a pitch that was in a phase “pitch-perfect”.
Our service offering at Tahzoo is quite broad, consistent with any of the large consultancies. When Forrester did a review of Tahzoo and our competitors they suggested that our biggest competition was Accenture Digital and that our service offering most closely matched their approach. They highlighted that we need to take a stronger position in the market around thought leadership; it was especially important that we took a stand on the issues of the day and how customer experience was going to evolve, essentially leading our clients and the market with a future vision. Secondly, they thought that we were wholly lacking in evidence to support the impact of our work on behalf of our clients. They acknowledge our great work but emphasized that we need concrete metrics around our business impact to share with them, the market, and prospective clients. The theme of needing to be business results-driven is consistently echoing around Tahzoo’s market positioning.
I began thinking about how the Johnny Tsunami experience can be translated into our Tahzoo world. Last week I convened a sales working group of about a dozen people from across the company. We had the first meeting yesterday and I had the opportunity to share the Johnny Tsunami story. We need to make it easy for everyone to tell our story and be able to consultatively explain how we can help our clients. The team is broken into five groups; The Tahzoo Pitch team, The Tahzoo Customer Evidence team, The Client Management and Success team, The Marketing and Campaign team, and the Success Measurement and KPI team. We will be meeting every two weeks with the company-wide deliverables being produced by each team over the course of the project. We are expecting this effort to last approximately 2 quarters with the goal of harmonizing our sales efforts and increasing our win rate.
What can you do in the meantime? I want each of you to pick an area of the business that is not your specialty and begin to learn how that works. Ask someone you know for deliverables and get yourself educated. We will formalize this process eventually, but in the short term make an effort and get smart about what other people are doing. There is no substitute for curiosity and conversation with your peers. Re-read the Desk of Brad from January where I outlined our solutions, and spend time thinking about how what you’re doing could be more closely tied to our core value proposition: “We help our clients deliver personalized experiences that drive improved business results”. My last ask is once you’ve taken the time to understand one of our solutions, spend a few minutes trying to explain it to a friend or a colleague. Can you pitch Tahzoo as well as the Johnny Tsunami window washer?
Let’s go be great!