Monday, April 21, 2008

Recession Marketing Discipline Number Four:

Demonstrate your difference: Sales is a numbers game. Only thing is, you are not a salesperson. You are a professional advisor – an expert at helping businesses solve certain problems using your brainpower. Sales people talk, talk, talk and meet, meet, meet and in tough times they ramp up those talks/meets until the quantity and volume force a result. As professional advisors who offer the invisible and intangible to our clients, our job is to show not tell, listen more than talk and ask with humility rather than pompously pontificating. Earning the right to clients and referrals comes from providing real time samples of our ability to help…before we are hired. Consumer goods companies provide sample size portions to entice you to pick their product off the crowded store shelf. The sample reduces your risk – you already know if you like or dislike the product so you don’t buy blindly. How can you demonstrate your difference in a calm and confident manner in a way that allays uncertainty and provides proof that the client can’t go wrong by picking you? You certainly must reach out to enough of the right prospective clients to drive client development success. However, context of interaction and content provided outweigh volume of contact in professional services…and, especially when clients have a highly risk-averse mindset. Like during a recession.

One especially smart way to demonstrate your difference and usefulness in a recession is to be generous with your time to those in career need. As Mike Wien of Creative Growth points out, “Many very talented people have their careers derailed during difficult economic times. Usually, it is being at the wrong place at the wrong time. As too many people avoid and even run away from those who are in a career transition, use this opportunity to help the person and build a meaningful relationship with them for life. They will eventually land somewhere and they will remember you as a person who was genuinely interested in them…not just their checkbook.”

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