Let’s get real or let’s not play book

This had long been on my reading pile, but it was so bad that it took me a while to slog through the whole thing. The book was just too verbose for me and without enough substance. The whole thing can be summed up in the Summary section at the end of the book so read that and save yourself some time.

I’ve included my very raw notes here for my own future reference. Maybe this’ll help someone else too so I’m sharing them here.

  • Consultants and clients want the same thing. Both want a solution that exactly meets the clients’ needs.
  • Intent counts more than technique. Are you asking questions for your benefit or theirs? People don’t like to feel like they’re being manipulated. Convince them that you’re there to help them succeed.
  • If there is nothing the client wants to solve, there is no value to the proposed solution. But explore their problems first with thoughtful, meaningful conversations.
  • ORDER
    • Opportunity: no pain, no gain, no opportunity. Issues, Evidence, Impact, Context, Constraints
    • Resources: time, people, money
    • Decisions: What are the steps? What decisions get made at each step? When? Who is involved? How will decision be make?
    • Exact Solution/Enable Decisions: effectively advocate for our solution
    • Results: deliver and measure results, learn and improve,
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
  • Value, trust, meaningful information.
  • A deal is not qualified b/c we think it is, it’s qualified b/c the client says so.
  • Slow down for yellow lights. It’s ok to eject if you hit a red light.
  • Stimuli: pain, gain, novelty. We move away from pain, toward gain, and seek novelty.
  • Soften
    • “What kinds of problems have you been experiencing by not having…?”
    • “Let’s say you have a world-class solution. What would that allow you to do as a business that you can’t now?”
    • “What does that mean to you in the context of your goals?”
    • “In order to keep my comments relevant to you, could yuou help me understand what specific kinds of challenges you’re experiencing that you hop XYZ will resolve?”
  • 80% of the impact is in 20% of the issues
  • Hard issues
    • How do you measure it?
    • What is it now?
    • What would you like it to be?
    • What is the value of the difference?
    • What is the value over time?
  • Organizational issue challenges: mission, values, key strategies/initiatives, external/internal pressures, political landscape
  • Solution
    • Issues: What problems or results is the client trying to address? Priority?
    • Evidence: How do we define the problem? Measure success?
    • Impact: Financial and intangible costs and benefits?
    • Context: Who or what is affected by the issues and the solution?
    • Constraints: What has stopped the org from resolving these issues so far?
  • Resources
    • Time: too soon, too far in future, undefined
    • People: right people?, too little involved, too much involved
    • Money: start the convo and figure out if you’re in range.
  • Decisions
    • Who’ll make the decision? Who can influence? Who can veto? Who signs the check? Who approves? Criteria for a “yes”? Process? What info do you need? When making decision? Competition? how do we stack up against competition? Are you sure you’ll go with someone?
    • “What are the steps you need to stake as an org to make a confident yes or no decision?”
    • Understand the opportunity from the client’s perspective.
  • Enabling the decision
    • Don’t go “guessing about what will be convincing to the client, and they are often presenting to people who are not authorized to say yes.”
    • The purpose of a sales presentation is to enable a decision. That decision is different at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
    • “Thinking forward to the presentation, what would you like to make sure we cover that will allow you to make a confident decision, whether you choose us or someone else?”
    • Acknowledge, Understand, Resolve
    • Feel, felt, found “I understand how you feel, other clients have felt that way, what they found was…”
    • Profitability is most affected by account retention, account expansion, and the being the primary provider of services in an accounts.
    • Ensure a smooth transition from sales to delivery. Measure results.
  • New Opps
    • Priorities, prepare, personalize, practice, pre-position
    • Quality over quantity