Sales Coaching Series, Part 21: Becoming more creative in sales

So, what did you think of Strategyser’s Value Proposition Model? Thought-provoking, hopefully.

More importantly, what did you learn from it? What you should have taken from it is to never make any assumptions about what you think or feel your prospects want, need, use and afford. You have heard about the word “ASSUME”; it makes an “ASS of U and ME” and wrong assumptions in sales, are fatal. Sure, you can be lucky and go on a hunch. Sometimes gut feeling works and works well. However, today’s customers are more fussy, more sophisticated, more informed, they want it yesterday and in 50 shades!

True story. I heard about an old-stager in a board room recently hankering back to the good old days when the sector they were in was such that “customers didn’t have a choice and … they didn’t really matter!”. In other words, his sentiment was that this would be a great business today except for those pesky customers. In fact, he was also overheard saying “it’s not fair!”, concerning a new competitor who had diversified into his sector and had, proverbially, been eating this company’s "breakfast".


Speaking of diversification and in the context of creativity in sales, it reminds me of a great Boston Box I came across in my early consulting days. This model, really challenges you to think deeply about the 4 areas in which you can grow your business.  

The model asks you and your team to examine your current customer/market base and current products/services and then to factor in new customers/market and new products/services. This creates a quadrant and leads to 4 strategies to explore.

It looks something like this:


So what this is saying is that you have four areas to consider when being creative in your attempts to expand and grow your sales.

Quadrant 1 tells you that under your feet, right now are possibly some of the best opportunities you have to sell. This is often ignored because salespeople are so focused on getting to see other and newer customers, that they often neglect who they have already sold to and are possibly favourably disposed to you already. We see this regularly when we analyse sales by product and by customer. It is quite amazing when we carry out this exercise to find the high number of existing customers that do not have all of the products on offer. When we encourage clients to go back to existing customers with their current offering, we find that they were unaware that they also offered other products/services. ", Oh, no one told about this!"

Quadrant 2 tells you that you must be continually looking at your product and service offering and tweaking them or bringing new ones to the market. In other words, your existing customers may be looking for some different products/services that your team can design and bring to their attention. You are not going to find out what these needs and wants are unless you go and continually visit your existing customers and find out where their pains are. Get out from behind the desk, visit and ask.

Quadrant 3 is obvious. You must always be looking out for new leads, new opportunities that will put you in front of new potential customers with your current products and services. Of course, as you develop new products and services, these become existing offerings and these can also be brought to the attention of your new prospects.

Finally Quadrant 4. This is the most high-risk and lots of companies have been brought to their knees because they "did not stick to the knitting". In other words, business is littered with examples of companies who got into areas that were not complimentary with their core business. They end up investing lots of team time, resources and attention to an area that they may simply not understand; and the nuances get them in the end.

That is not to say that one should be put off diversifying. It might be the highest risk area, however it can also be the most lucrative. What you are looking for here is a new product/service that opens up a new market entirely. It may be achieved by bolting on an acquired company and suddenly these customers also become buyers of your existing products and services.

So, have a think about this and we will close it out next week.

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