This is the first blog in a series on the topic of Leading with Ideas.
At the heart of True IntimacySM is being a valued advisor to your clients on important opportunities and challenges to their business. Often conversations that could or should be about these opportunities and challenges are really about how to better use your products and get more bang for the buck in your relationship; these are valuable issues but not True intimacySM discussions. Ideas provide the kernel of change in your relationship from “pushing products” to discussing and advising on valuable business opportunities.
By using “Idea,” we are emphasizing the shift away from a direct linkage to your products and services to the outcomes tied to these valuable opportunities and a point of view on what is involved in realizing those outcomes. Merriam-Webster’s first definition of “idea” has three parts that capture this shift well:
-a transcendent entity that is a real pattern of which existing things are imperfect representations
-a standard of perfection: ideal
-a plan for action: design
In other words, they provide:
- A framework in which to view and guide action on the opportunity or challenge
- A point of view on what success looks like
- An actionable path forward to the desired outcomes
Using Ideas as the focal point of discussions with clients immediately changes the dialog, and therefore, the relationship, because:
- They focus the discussion on the Idea – not the sales representative’s (or consultant’s) skills, not the company or current relationship, but the Idea.
- They enable a more consultative conversation – discussing the merits of the Idea in a particular environment, thereby allowing you to demonstrate experience, expertise, and insight while uncovering the executive buyer’s thinking without asking the dreaded and amorphous “what keeps you up at night” questions.
- They align with the way real decisions are made – instead of working against the process.
Much as you want to elevate your solution delivery to True SolutionsSM, you want to elevate your sales discussions by increasing both value and intimacy as shown below:
We’ll explore the facets of Ideas in more detail in future posts, but let’s close with what makes a good Idea:
- A focus upon seizing an opportunity for a company – be it business growth or protection, increasing revenue, cutting costs, etc.
- Not wishful thinking, but rather a challenge to see the business differently.
- Easy to summarize and to express in a few minutes.
- Actionable, understandable,and straight-forward to evaluate for applicability
And the best ideas have a “wow factor.”
To read the next blog in the series, click here.
Written by: Anthony Paluska
About the Author: Anthony Paluska is a Partner at McMann & Ransford with experience helping organizations overcome commoditization by developing stronger, more intimate, relationships with their customers. He has leveraged his management consulting, problem solving, and change management skills to support 15+ Fortune 1000 organizations, across a multitude of industries.