For a Thought leader to be commercially smart, someone, somewhere, must buy their great ideas. That’s the secret by the way; stop selling and start letting people buy. For this to happen you don’t need to figure out some slick sales script, you don’t need to handle their objections, you don't need to learn the six magic steps of influence. What you need to do is know your stuff, know their needs and place you and your ideas into the conversation, so that they click. This is the same whether you are talking about people outside your organisation or Thought Leaders practice or to your staff internally. Whether you are talking to a large crowd or one-to-one, you need to make it easier for them to want to listen to your ideas.
There have been some attempts to evolve traditional selling such as integrity sales or relationship selling. While they have their merits, tried and tested sales techniques are increasingly experienced by our customers as tired and broken. Thought leaders need to do something different to take the relationship to the next level. It’s our belief that clicking is the next stage for selling to evolve to. We believe clicking is the key to selling ideas in the crowded, post information age, always on, attention deficit economy.
Here is a process you can try:
Thought leaders don’t sell, they understand. If you don't know why people might benefit from your ideas, then spend time getting to know them and ask their permission to use them as a pilot to test and prototype your offer. Initially they may not even pay you, but if it works they will tell all their contacts and mates about you. If it doesn’t, then what you will learn from this experience will be invaluable. This is thought prototyping though. Once you know their needs and can show them how you have a solution, then they invite you to dance! It’s really simple. All you need to do is:
- Know your stuff
- Know my stuff
- Place your stuff as the solution to my stuff and always create massive value.
The idea that you have integrity is the price of entry. Without this, others will not buy your ideas, your approach, or you. As a consequence, thought leaders embrace this new approach, because they can evolve from selling to people, to clicking with people. Clicking is simple fun of service to the people you are communicating with and earns you the right to pitch your ideas and approach.
* Extract from the book Thought Leaders, written by Matt Church, Michael Henderson and Scott Stein.