A distributor client invited me to a dinner with a new client of his tonight as a representative of his company. As I'm sitting across from the Executive VP of Marketing for a very large, very well known organization, I listened as he spoke and then when appropriate I asked him one simple, but important question, "What is the biggest challenge within your organization?" His answer? "We're having a difficult time trying to find an effective way to tell our story." Oh that answer was music to my ears! Why? Because as Bobby Lehew recently said at skucon, we aren't promo product salespeople. We're storytellers.
I then asked him to tell me the story they are wanting people to hear; which he did.
By asking two simple questions, I now have all the information I need, not to sell this guy some Shelby Tumblers or stadium cups, but to help my client put the puzzle pieces together and help provide this man with a solution (albeit product based) to his problem. We are going to help him tell his story, and he is going be the organization's hero. Talk about a win, win, win.
You are probably saying, "Gee that's great Charity, but how does this help me?"
Well - What questions are you asking your clients and potential clients? Are you trying to sell them a product, or find them solutions? You should know, one method is far more effective than the other, so change things up next time you meet with that marketing director or office manager. Challenge yourself to meet them where they are, see things from their level, and commit to working elbow to elbow with them — not to sell them some pens with their logo on them, but to help solve their marketing problems. Changing the conversation changes the game. Are you ready to play to win?