They’re about creating big solutions for big problems.
I recently worked with an expert, Peter who had fantastic IP, lots of depth of thinking and a great program that was easy to sell. The program itself was built with a structure that allowed the client to cherry pick a series of topics that suited their organisation and needs. It was a great all-around corporate client solution. The problem was that he wasn’t reaching clients that could really benefit from the value that he was offering. He was attracting clients that were doing the ‘tick and flick—just choosing an easy-to-use program in order to tick a box in their training requirements. But because they weren’t expecting that much from it, they also weren’t willing to pay that much either.
When we sat down to chat, we looked into why the clients weren’t putting value on what he was offering (and therefore, the budget). As we dug in we had a look at the name. The program was named after its style of delivery (for example, Pick n’ Mix), rather than the value that it offered or the problem it solved. We realised that the problem here was how he was positioning his messaging.
Big Deals Aren’t About Big Sales
It’s vital to understand that big deals are not really about big sales. Instead, they’ve about solving big problems.
Big Deals Solve Big Problems
You see, Peter had been positioning his program to solve lots of smaller problems. And because of that, he was making smaller sales. He wanted to solve big problems—and he had the IP and the value to do so. But because of his positioning, he wasn’t articulating the problem (and the size of the problem) that he could solve or offering the corporate client solutions that really fit the bill. Additionally, the style of delivery meant that it took a lot of work for him to create each program—and he wasn’t able to scale well. This created bottlenecks and friction in his practice that were both exhausting and frustrating for him.
Instead of focusing on the delivery (the Pick n’ Mix) he needed to focus more on how he helped to transform teams and leaders and achieve a certain set of outcomes. This started with changing the name so that people would understand those potential outcomes right from the start. Then we took his $7,500 program and designed a $75,000 version and a $175,000 version utilising the very same IP, collaterals and work. He simply widened his offering to bring the level of value that the client needed.
What Holds Us Back from Solving Big Problems
1. A Scarcity Mindset
I have many clients and people in my community that struggle to really articulate their value in the same way as this expert did. And often what is holding them back is the scarcity mindset. When we’re in a scarcity mindset we’re afraid to extend ourselves so far out of a worry that we might fail. We’re thinking, ‘But I need the sales, I need the clients. I can’t afford to be too expensive or to push too hard’.
2. Our Ego
Another thing that comes into play is the ego. This is not to say that we think we’re too good or too valuable. It’s more that we’re so focused on our own needs (clients, sales, revenue) that we’re unable to let go and simply look at what the client needs. But once we’re able to do that, then we’re really able to see what’s possible, what we can offer them and how we can give them the outcomes they need and deserve.
3. Our Assumptions
Too often we assume what the client needs or wants—and when we do that, we’re not in a position to offer them the corporate client solutions that they need. This problem can affect even major global corporations, including Netflix. In 2011 Netflix was valued at $16 billion but in order to keep up with advancing technology they acquired Qwikster in order to offer a streaming option as well as their traditional mail-order DVD service. Customers who wanted both, however, would have to pay 60% more—a huge rate hike.
Netflix didn’t take the time to do research to see how their customers felt about the change and assumed they would embrace and pay handsomely for the new service. Instead, the company lost nearly 800,000 subscribers and a stock price decline of 77% over four months.
How to Sell Big Deals (and Create the Right Corporate Client Solutions)
Many years ago, I was in a position to offer a $200,000 program to a large global multinational. While they had other experts come in to speak with them, the feedback was that I was the only one who walked through the door with deep insight and a program with options already in place. While I didn’t know how big their problem was, I had the options available to meet them wherever they were.
It’s important to remember that we don’t know what we don’t know. The Johari Window can give us insight and uncover the blind spots in our sales. The Johari Window Model is a diagramming tool that helps us unpack what we don’t know about a potential client so that we can better understand our relationships and what they need. It can be applied powerfully to business.
1. Quadrant 1 is the blind spot for you as the expert—where perception is not aligned with the value offered.
2. Quadrant 2 is what is known and understood by your client—here value and perception are aligned.
3. Quadrant 3 is the blind spot for your client—where there is something that is offered or needed that you’re not aware of (and your opportunity to build your stature).
4. Quadrant 4 is the unknown—the place where you don’t know what the customer needs, and they don’t know what you can offer.
Understanding where you are in this model helps you prepare better. So, for example, I knew that I didn’t know the extent of help that the global multinational needed. But because I was aware of that, I was able to be prepared. In the end, it turned out that they did have a big problem, so they needed a big solution, which I was able to easily provide to them.
Daymond John, an American businessman, CEO of FUBU and investor on the ABC reality TV series Shark Tank, says, ‘It takes the same energy to think small as it does to think big. So dream big and think bigger’.
I’d love to hear your thoughts…