Friday, September 10, 2010

Blogging Break

I'll be taking Blogging Break for a couple of Months - Be back blogging in November. See you then...
Thursday, September 9, 2010

Quotable - Truth Series

Truth is ever evolving” - Rachel Naomi Remen
Monday, September 6, 2010

Marketing -Selling

Image not being comfortable selling your own professional expertise! Many, perhaps most, professional service providers are uncomfortable with just such financial, marketing and sales related conversations. It is largely because those topics have not been a part of their professional training and they have not had the privilege of mentoring. As a result most lack a framework for marketing discussions and thus the confidence to engage in such conversations even though they are essential to practice and professional growth. And, it costs the professional, the practice and the profession PLENTY.

In his classic book SPIN Selling, Neil Rackham explains one marketing discussion strategy that uses the acronym SPIN - which stands for Situation, Problem, Implications, and Need-Payoff. The approach is simple, effective and valuable for all professionals to learn. The SPIN approach allows anyone with a little practice to engage in the kind of logical and effective marketing/sales conversation that secures business.

Situation pertains to the the context, background, and environment in which the conversation takes place. It is the opener for the conversation. It can begin with a question as simple as, "How is it going?" or "What's happening?" Listen carefully - much will be exposed.

That exchange leads into conversation as to what underlying Problem might be causing the Situation. It's important to get to root causes by asking probing questions. The simple question, "Why?" asked repeatedly is an effective tool for getting to the problematic heart of a Situation.

From there the conversation shifts to the asking about the Implications of the Problem. The Implications allow one to begin to appreciate the multidimensional impact that the underlying Problem is causing. The Implications will likely have financial, political, social, emotional, competitive, and security dimensions. This portion of the conversation lends breadth and depth perspective.

The final portion of the conversation leads into a consideration and understanding of Need-Payoff. The intent here is to quantify the net cost and opportunity that is implied by the Implications. It provides the foundation for monetizing the Situation. This portion of the conversation establishes the necessity, urgency, logic and justification for making a decision to purchase: and provides the seller with critically valuable pricing information. It shifts the discussion from one of price to one of value.

For example, what begins as a Situation described as " We're tired and burned-out" could expose a root Problem involving the loss of trust in an important business relationship; the Implications of which could be far reaching including high turnover, inability to recruit talent, loss of business, eroding job security, loss of sleep and related medical issues, and possible bankruptcy. The Net-Need could translate into millions of dollars being at stake. A solution for the Problem in this Situation would obviously have significant value and high probability for making a deal. 

Business opportunity is everywhere - and usually just a conversation away. But in marketing and sales, one can't afford to allow such opportunities to be just another conversation. There  is much value in having a strategy that can spin it into something significant. 

Sales and marketing training for all professional service providers should be a strategic skill that is taught and mentored within every practice - assuming that all practices have the need and aspiration to grow. SPIN Selling warrants being a part of the core curriculum.

All The Best!


(c) Copyright 2010 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Quotable - Truth Series

“There’s nothing truer than truth” - Family Motto 
Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Marketing - Messaging

In his recent book Marketing 3.0, Philip Kotler differentiates key shifts in marketing messaging that have taken place over the past half century and that continue to evolve today. Message shifts that has considerable significance for practice owners who seek a competitive advantage in challenging markets.

He defines marketing 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 as an evolution in messaging from being product -centric to consumer-centric to a centricity that touches the hearts and spirits of others. 

It represents a shift from the what of practice beyond the how of practice to new fertile territory that considers the why of practice. 

It is the why that touches hearts. It is the why that challenges a practice's integrity, its mission, vision, values, and beliefs. It is a why that challenges old marketing strategies, tired "me to" marketing messages, and the web content of virtually every practice website in the nation. 

It is no longer about the alphabet of credentials following the names of professionals or the self-aggrandizement of providers all claiming to be "uniquely qualified", and "special" complete with evidence and outcomes. It is now simply about the value (not necessarily quality) brought to the community serviced. It is about how the values of the organization aligns with the values and priorities of the people it serves. It creates an environment in which there is little place to hide. An environment in which integrity it everything. Its about walking the talk all of the time. 

In my experience in the sectors of institutional practice, private practice, and nonprofit humanitarian organizations, Marketing 3.0 rings true. For the few truly progressive practices it is the crystal clear tone of opportunity; for most others, it is the final tolling bell that marks a passing. 

Does your market messaging speak of opportunity or passing?

All the Best!


(c) Copyright 2010 
Performance Builders