The starting point to creating success for our clients and ourselves is by forming a meaningful relationship with them. This stems from understanding our clients and our clients’ clients, and then building digital solutions that add genuine value to everyone. This represents a shift away from the traditional transactional sales approach, which might have some short-term gain but causes everyone long-term pain in the end. This applies to all parties involved, such as sales people who want to quickly close the deal or clients that are predominantly price driven and who neglect the evergreen adage that ‘you get what you pay for’.
The life of a digital consultancy in this ever-changing digital world is very rewarding, as it puts us in the position to learn and understand businesses of different sizes and from a variety of industries. On the smaller end of the spectrum, we are able to assist SMEs in their growth plans and, as they make up such a large percentage of the economy, we feel that we are contributing to putting food on the table for many families around the country. We do this through harnessing our creativity in order to make the most of SMEs’ limited budgets and resources.
On the larger end of the spectrum we have companies with budgets that allow us the room to flex our digital acumen in our continual quest to provide value and increase their market share.
Both are challenging in different ways; however, the one commonality we find is that we achieve the most success by being digital partners with our clients and not just order takers. This is accomplished by taking a contemporary win-win approach of synergistic partnerships.
To do this, we encourage our sales people to become synergy specialists, and the difference in the results is significant. In the former approach, the traditional sales person (where selling is an activity) is extremely transactional, while, in the latter we are working together as partners to build better and more creative solutions.
We challenge both our staff and our clients to move away from a null-sum game of win-lose or lose-win. As Stephen Covey emphasises in the The 3rd Alternative, selling as an activity needs to move away from an ‘us against them’ mentality.
Moving away from the traditional transaction sales mindset isn’t easy, as it’s still the baseline setting when negotiating for sales people and clients alike when. This largely stems from a trust deficit that has been built up over a lifetime of exposure to traditional sales experiences – the one where you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that tells you to watch out for the inevitable ‘catch’ or ‘gotcha’ clause.
Alternatively, to get to a win-win situation, we work on understanding our clients’ goals, ambitions and challenges, as this allows us to develop better strategies and deliver better outcomes. In short, this means listening with a view to understanding, rather than just trying to close the deal.
It means taking the time and making the effort to truly understand a client’s business; to complement their expertise within their vertical with our expertise in digital. Covey defines a simple four-step process (see diagram below) that needs to be the mindset that all involved parties need to work towards.
Covey’s 4-step process for a synergistic win-win solution
Win-win means both parties feel good about the partnership. As Covey states, this means that neither party feels like they have lost anything — both are extremely satisfied with the outcome and the results. In the digital age, it is no longer good enough to just get people to buy our services; we have to help clients increase their revenue, reduce costs, capitalise on opportunities, increase customer loyalty and harness the power of digital to improve ROI. This also means that clients must appreciate the value that they are receiving and move away from the traditional ‘order-giver’ mentality and be willing to be challenged so that together we can develop better solutions.
So, let’s challenge ourselves to move away from the transactional and embrace the transformational. We need to move away from the numbers and provide the real value that we know our clients love — from win-lose to win-win. In other words, let’s position ourselves for success by being synergistic partners rather than merely negotiators.
To find out more about the Found approach and how we can work with you towards a successful digital marketing strategy, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org