At a local university back in March, a professor was interrupted during a lecture by a maintenance technician who was there to adjust the classroom clock for Daylight Savings Time. The professor stopped the lecture. She was about to mention that the clock had stopped months ago and that she had requested that the batteries be changed, when she realized that the technician would obviously realize the clock was not working because the time was wrong.
Take a good look at the last proposal you gave your client. In particular, take a good look at the assumptions you submitted. They shouldn’t be too hard to find; they are usually referenced in the Cover Letter and Executive Summary, and the Appendix is often filled with assumptions that we instruct the client to review. We think that the assumptions submitted with every proposal will convince our client that we know what we are doing. Yet the truth is that all we are doing is creating doubt in the client’s mind – and the fear that our company is more interested in protecting our own interests, rather than advancing theirs.
Everyone who has ever been through a job interview has been asked this question. Every one of us who is or has been in a client-facing role has also been faced with that question. Differentiation is one of the most critical aspects of a sales strategy. Many studies verify that people make choices based upon differences rather than similarities.
Anyone who learned to ride a bike as a child knows how difficult and painful the first attempts can be. Whoever taught you kept yelling, “Pedal faster,” but you knew that couldn’t be right. It feels wrong. How could faster be safer? Pedaling faster is scary. Pedaling faster means a harder fall. Eventually, though, we figure it out and some even learn the physics behind it: pedaling faster makes you dynamically stable because of the gyroscopic effect, which reduces your risk of falling and makes it easier to turn.
A while ago, I decided it was time to deal with my right knee. It had been a problem for years, and I reached out to a specialist who repaired the damaged knees of professional athletes. I was poked and prodded and x-rayed and MRI-ed. The doctor let me know I was a good candidate for surgery and could quickly resume normal activity.
The surgery happened and the doctor proclaimed it to be an unqualified success. I thought it was a disaster. How could that be?