Doing this challenge is both exhilarating and exhausting. Just wanted to point that out. Now on to today’s post….
Have you ever considered the expertise represented by your prospective (and current) clients?
It seems like in sales that many of us default to this thing where we’re trying to get someone to do something. We talk about adding value, but when the chips are down, we either forget or panic or jump straight to cost and argue why we’re worth said cost.
Adding value in sales (or marketing) is understanding some of the bigger picture and applying your solution in the larger context of the client’s needs and goals.
Learning How to Add Value By Learning from an Untapped Resource of Experts
Today I listened to Michael Stelzner interview John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire.
A light bulb went off above my big old melon: My top prospects are the prospects with the most expertise in my target niche. If I want to work with the best in the nonprofit world, then more than likely, the best in the nonprofit world have the most wisdom, experience, innovative thought, and pure knowledge of the needs, desires, and wants of nonprofit organizations.
Instead of simply calling up and begging for a meeting to discuss insurance, why not call nonprofit leaders to learn from them?
This turns yesterday’s ‘teaching sells’ idea around (still a great idea, and I’m building my list of prospective teaching, seminar, and workshop possibilities). Instead of offering my experience and knowledge to my target audience, I should be sitting with them and peppering them with questions, and not questions that are directly related to the product I sell.
Action Item: Start Making the List and Reach Out (tomorrow – sorry Dan!)
I liked how John Dumas had his top 20 targeted interviewees selected before he started his Entrepreneur on Fire podcast.
I started a list today and will let it marinate. I’ll begin with some current clients that are extremely sharp and then move onto referrals from them while I develop my interviewing chops. I’m sure my blogging for my day job would benefit from other voices than my own, if only in quote form.
Tomorrow… I shall report here that I selected 30 potential interviewees and reached out to at least 5 of them. I started the list today (which is much more than I would have done 3 weeks ago after listening to the podcast).
What I Hope to Learn
1. How to ask better questions: If I want to interview the best and the brightest, I better not act like Chris Farley in that SNL bit he used to do… “remember when you, um, Beatlemania… that was awesome”
2. A deeper understanding of nonprofit leadership, without the sales cloud hanging over our heads: Sometimes, the insurance thing can get in the way of a good conversation.
3. What makes high quality nonprofits tick: That’s the main point. And if I can leverage that knowledge to help my other clients, even better.
4. How to better build a network, one interview at a time: One of the key points of the Stelzner – Dumas interview is that in order to build a business, you have to build an audience. My business isn’t as online-based as either Stelzner’s or Dumas’s but any business needs a solid network. By sitting down and interviewing influencers as resources for more well-researched blog posts and other content (perhaps a future podcast), I can build that network.
This project should be fun, if nothing else!