How to Sell Clients An Idea They Gave You.
Together with your clients and prospects, build an “Idea Machine”. If anything should ever become real “Added Value” your marketing activities produce for those you want to do business with, the “I-M” is it.
Your client has a problem you know your goods or services can help solve. He may not have clearly identified it yet, but he knows it is there. Every properly qualified client has a problem or two like that. Ask enough right questions and really listen to the answers, you will find it. And then…
It’s Time to Convene the Idea Machine.
The I-M concept to solve creative problems I first borrowed almost 30 years ago. It came from a long time broadcast business colleague, Gerry Tabio, President and Founder of Creative Resources Group. He is a brilliant champion of “creative problem solving” and I am an enthusiastic disciple and practitioner of his proven techniques.
The I-M’s vital parts are People – the “Machine Team”.
It’s “parts” include you (or trusted colleague with decision making authority), your client plus up to three others who work with both of you. Not necessarily “creative”, but they are thinking, empathetic people. Not just marketing honchos, or production types, Or “bean counters”. They’re People who love their work, what their company does and how well it’s doing.
It’s a fluid machine. It’s parts are interchangeable. Obviously client-side members change with the client. But even one or more of your members can change—coming “off the bench”, so to speak, when a certain skill set might strengthen the Team in a particular client situation.
All Machine Teamers want both firms to succeed. When asked to help and encouraged to participate they feel strongly empowered. That combination will bring the I- M glowing to life.
The process toward the problem’s solution starts then. There is always a process, of course, but it’s the “means to the end”, not “the end” in itself.
The end is what the Idea Machine helps find.
With surprising speed, the Machine Team collectively agrees what is the real problem or opportunity. It sees specific “Tools” (goods or services) you sell, plus their custom application to the client’s situation that will speed things along.
That’s when the client’s problem morphs into your solution that he will happily buy from your Idea Machine (that he has a stake in.)
Now that you’ve had a sneak peek at the happy ending, let’s back up the process a little:
- Make sure all Machine members understand the client’s specific problem and objective.
- Move the idea-generation process forward by freeing the participants from inhibition, judgement, criticism or evaluation.
- Encourage freewheeling.
- Seek quantity of ideas first. Quality evolves later.
- Combine ideas. Uninhibited synergy always improves them and their power..
- Use “Challenge statements” to question conventional wisdom on the matter.
- Ask “In what ways might we…” with all Team members answering quickly and without reservation over a predetermined time frame, e.g. 5-10 minutes.
- Change perspective several times. Ask the question with the seemingly irrelevant point of view of someone else (like a pilot, baseball player, dancer, etc…)
- Write all responses down as received.
- Then narrow the list to the FIVE ideas the Team thinks are the most promising.
- One will evoke the “Aha!” response. Guaranteed!
Your Idea Machine creates a powerful and salable solution that the client’s key decision makers have pre-bought.
Your clients get real results. They see you bring more real “added value” to the table.
They confidently look forward to the next time your Idea Machine goes to work for them.
Your Products earn wider use and higher prices because, through integration, your solutions become greater than the sum of the tools you packaged to create them. You could even brand these I-Machine inspired solutions.
The relationships you build with these clients will evolve over time. They usually become the most profitable and satisfying kind of client you will ever have.
Cel/text: (416) 200-2430