In a Harvard Business Review article, uber-marketing consultant Geoff Moore, Philip Lay and Todd Hewlin from TCG Advisors make the point that marketers should be “provoking” their customers, not simply consulting and reacting to their requests.
In “In a Downturn, Provoke Your Customers,” the group is clear about the need to be respectful, but they posit that we sometimes need to do the difficult homework before visiting the prospect. They compare their approach to more typical solution selling and make a very compelling argument.
I was especially interested in their advice for success during what they rightly call “The All-Important meeting” with the prospect:
Discuss war stories. Describe the experiences of similar companies that either have faced or are facing the problem. Such stories reinforce its importance and demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about it and are bringing a new solution to the table. They also make the executive feel safe in acknowledging that the problem exists in his or her organization.
Did you catch the part I underlined? That’s where Brandtelling comes in. But it’s also where the ability to present a well-thought-out and compelling argument plays an important role.
So get out there, think hard and provoke some customers!