How to build a super effective customer ‘Persona’

How to build a super effective customer ‘Persona’


Who is your ideal customer, the one who will not haggle the price, who loves the product you sell, and proselytises for you? Knowing that person in great detail would be marketing and commercial gold.

Like all gold, it is hard to find, subject to all sorts of distractions and false starts, but immensely valuable when discovered, and discovery is usually incremental, rather than a ‘eureka’ moment. This means it is also a demanding challenge.

What is often also forgotten in the effort to define that ideal customer, is that every customer also has an ideal supplier, one who meets all their needs, delivering value in excess of the cost to them. It is a two way street, and a relationship only prospers where there is value being delivered to both parties.

It is always worth remembering that customers will buy when they are ready to buy, and that is not necessarily when you are ready to sell.  The name of the game is to be around when they are ready, with the credibility and value proposition that is compelling to them, which means that the better you understand them, the more effective your revenue generation efforts will be.

How do you define your ideal customers?

I have used the ‘Who, What, Where, When, Why & How’ model extensively to define the ideal customer with my clients. It is an iterative process, deceptively demanding, as it requires decisions about who is not an ideal customer, and therefore excluded from primary consideration. Choices like this are challenging, but necessary, particularly for small and medium businesses which do not have the luxury of a big pot of marketing money, you have to get it right or waste limited resources.

Following is a quick explanation that will enable you to at least start the process

Who: Is the demographics they may exhibit. Where they live, age, sex, education, job,  and all the other quantitative characteristics that are available. These parameters are pretty much all that  was easily available in any detail until digital tools came along.

What: are their behaviours. Do they go to the opera or rock concerts, perhaps both, do  they travel overseas for holidays, what sort of causes, if any, do they support, are they likely to demonstrate their beliefs publicly, or are they just internal. All the sorts of things that offer a picture of how they think, feel, and behave in all sorts of situations.

Where: will you find them digitally, as well as in the analogue (perhaps real) world, and what means can you use to make a connection. Are they likely to be avid users of Facebook, Linkedin or other social platforms, are they comfortable buying on line, do they ‘showroom’ digitally then visit the physical retailer, do they get their news from Facebook and Reddit, or more focused news sites, or even, surprise, surprise, newspapers and magazines.

When: will they be ready to buy? In some markets this is not a big issue, but in many, it is a huge one. For example, if you want to sell to government, the best time to be on the doorstep with an offer is towards the end of the financial year when departments have unspent money left in their budgets. Normally there is a Strong ‘use it or lose it’ mindset in government departments, and they are loathe to lose it, as that will reduce their bargaining power at the next budget round. In private enterprise, the two items that require watching are the budget cycles, getting a major purchase into the budget is often a part of the game, and being aware of changes in the customer and markets that often acts as a catalyst is the second. Takeovers, personnel movements, large contracts being let, are all situations where change is occurring, and the enterprise is normally more receptive to new ideas, and new suppliers.

Why: should they respond to your entreaties, to do whatever it is you are asking of them. What is your value proposition to them? What promise of a new and better tomorrow can you deliver? What can you deliver that is different and more valuable to them than any alternative? If you cannot answer these questions, it will come down to price, and winning a price war is a great way to go broke.

How: will you service the transaction, and the subsequent relationship that may emerge. This is usually down to questions about your business model and the ‘fit’ that has with the customer.

An essential adjunct to the creation of a persona is to create a customer journey map. This is the process that your ideal customer will go through from the initial itch, to awareness, consideration, preference, then to the transaction. This will enable you to use the persona to inject yourself into the decision making and buying process a customer is going through to optimise your chances of success.

I would be delighted to assist you to work through the process, it will deliver significant rewards when done well and implemented effectively.

‘Organic’ investment should be the saviour of (some) retail.

‘Organic’ investment should be the saviour of (some) retail.

I went into a retail store last week with a problem, not really expecting to find anyone or anything that remotely met the immediate need I faced.

My web search had revealed many solutions, none of which gave me much confidence for one reason or another, but it had sparked a few ideas.

Lo and behold, the store I went to, (after a bit of web research) an independent store that clearly understood the niche it was servicing, had made a significant ‘organic’ investment.

They had several people who understood my problem, and were able to offer several sensible alternative solutions, one of which was perfect.

When faced with the same or similar challenge again, guess where I am going!

It may not be for a while, but inevitably it will happen again. Meanwhile, guess which store I am touting to my friends and colleagues.

Ironically, it seems that the most successful retailer on the planet, when measured by the standard retail sales/sq foot, and margin/square foot metric is one of the tech disrupters: Apple. They have redefined bricks and mortar retail by adding ‘organic’ sales staff to the best long term branding job ever seen, except perhaps for a couple of the major religions. At the end of 2017. Apple had 499 stores worldwide, and not content to leave well enough alone, are continuously investing and experimenting with formats, layout, branding, and the important ‘organic’ part of this hugely successful bricks and mortar puzzle.

On Wednesday (Feb 14, how appropriate) the Myer CEO was dumped by the board for failing to turn the ship around. The last time I was in a Myer store, admittedly some time ago, as I have no wish to repeat the experience,  there was no staff anywhere to be seen. My intention had been to buy a suit that had been advertised as part of a sale. Good price, good brand, I was in the store to buy, but no sale for Myer, although I did buy a similar suit elsewhere. Firing the CEO will have little impact on my future purchase intentions, without the long term investment in one of the the foundations of successful retail, good people at the customer coal-face, and a management culture that recognises and nurtures those people.

Digital is great, the convenience, price, and range are seductive, but there is no substitute for a person who has deep domain knowledge, has seen the problem before, and who is happy to help, and clearly gets a kick out of doing so. After all that, price does not matter so much, it just needs to be in the ball-park.

Just ask Apple.

Photo credit: Harry Pappas via Flikr

8 clichés every entrepreneur should consider

8 clichés every entrepreneur should consider

Clichés become clichés because they make sense, and are widely used, so they pass into the language. Unfortunately, common usage often makes them appear flippant, a throw-away line that means nothing.

That they take on that label does not make them any less valid, in fact, becoming a cliché is almost like getting an endorsement for wisdom.

Following are 8 that entrepreneurs embarking on an enterprise, whether it is the next Uber,  starting a cleaning business in your local area, taking on a franchise or a multi-level selling ‘opportunity’, that you should consider.


Cliché 1. Know where, and who, you are.

Irrespective of the starting point, starting a business is a journey. If you are going to start a business, recognise  that it will consume you if it is to be successful. It is not like being an employee, irrespective of results, at least for a while, you get paid to turn up.

Not so now.

Starting a business takes a heavy toll on not just your financial resources, but your resilience and personal relationships as well. Being prepared for the long hours, stress and uncertainty is a good start, you must know yourself well.

Cliché 2. Know where you want to go.

Many become tangled up in visions, missions, values, business purpose, their Why, and all the other ways that have become ‘popular’. All are valid, all have their place, but I ask my clients a simpler question; What does success look like? When you can answer that question, you have at least enough of an idea to start, but if the answer is purely financial, you need to do some more thinking.

Cliché 3. Have a plan.

There are lots of clichés about plans. Prominent amongst them are: ‘no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy‘, and  ‘failing to plan, is planning to fail‘ and both are right. Point is that unless you have a plan, you have no chance of understanding and managing your progress towards the goal, which tactics worked, and which ones did not. All crucial pieces of information. There are many planning models, each with their own emphasis, and I always recommend that you use several in the thinking part of the planning process as a way to ensure that things do not get missed.

Cliché 4. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Planning is the easy part, the hard bit is to take action. Without action, nothing happens, nothing!

Taking the steps, getting outside your comfort zone is why you are going into business for yourself.  Curiosity, an idea, recognition of a need you can fill, a problem you can solve, all are great reasons to go into business. All it takes is the first step, and it is always the hardest.

To add another cliché to the list: ‘hope is not a strategy’

Cliché 5. To succeed, you must have something others want.

Success in business is dependent on being able to deliver superior value to customers, at a cost that delivers you a margin. If you cannot deliver value, almost always the solution to a problem, which can be anything from a more efficient power station, to a better tasting tub of yoghurt, to on time delivery, or something no-one else can do, at a price the customer is happy to pay, you will  not survive.

Tough but simple.

Cliché 6. People have to know you are there.

Even if you do have the next greatest thing, you cannot sell it without  others who may need or benefit from your gizmo knowing about it. Marketing is essential. The process of gaining understanding how you will deliver value to whom, while making a profit on the way is make or break for every business, particularly a new one as generally you cannot afford to make mistakes. Selling skills are as important. Not only do you need to sell to your potential customers, but to the banks, your suppliers, and often even your partner. If you cannot sell, and do not want to learn how, do not go into business for yourself.

Cliché 7. Watch the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.

There are two aspects to this cliché. Cash is the lifeblood of every business, and you need to watch your cash the way a mother bear looks after her litter.

The first is to do a regular, I strongly recommend weekly, cash flow forecast. Make it a part of the way things are done in your business. At first it may seem strange, but it pays off, as you will always know your cash position, which will be a huge stress reliever. As a side benefit, trading while insolvent is illegal, and the simplest measure of solvency is can you pay your bills as they fall due.

The second is the behaviours you are setting out to build. Results come from the way things are done, as well as ensuring the right things are done, and if you want your staff to be as frugal with your money as you are, you have to  build, that behaviour deliberately. A weekly cash flow forecast with the appropriate level of staff engagement and contribution is a very good way to start.

Cliché 8. Work on your business, not just in it.

The ability to see your business as others  see it, customers, potential customers, and competitors, is essential to success. To have that external perspective, you must be able to extricate yourself from the day to day pressures of getting stuff done. It leads on to what could have been an addition the list, ‘do what is important, but not necessarily urgent’. Knowing what is important to the long term health and prosperity of the business is more about how others see you than it is about responding to those unimportant but seemingly urgent  things that pop up every day.

So, remember, all that glitters is not gold, but good advice can be.



18 ways to make the most of your large investment in trade shows.

18 ways to make the most of your large investment in trade shows.

Years ago as GM Marketing of the Dairy Farmers Co-Op, I had a significant chunk of my marketing budgets taken by the involvement Dairy Farmers had in the Sydney Royal Easter Show, and associated conference sessions.  This was an institutional investment, beyond the control of my marketing programs, as a Co-Op, the board was committed to it beyond any debate.  After a couple of years of whingeing, I took it on as a challenge to generate a return from the investment, that I would rather not have made.

In more recent years, I have attended many industry conferences, organised a few, and spoken at several, so have had plenty of opportunity to see what works and what does not.

Following are some of the lessons, the things you should have sorted out before you make the significant commitment to exhibit.


Have a clear objective.

Build brand awareness, find new distributors, generate leads, position yourself as the industry expert, whatever it is, without an objective you may as well save your money. Your objective will drive the manner in which the investment is made, the size, type and the way you manage it.

Be strategically consistent.

Ensure the show activities and presence at the show itself is aligned with the rest of your marketing activities and programs. Doing a one-off industry show because everyone else seems to be doing it is a basic error to make. It is almost always harder to say ‘no’ than to just go along with the crowd.

Market your presence in the show.

Use the investment in the show as a reason to contact all your networks, inviting them to the stand, to the functions you have organised, or to the sessions of the conference that you think may be of interest and value to them. Trade shows are really just very expensive and expansive networking opportunities, so the greater the awareness amongst current and potential customers that you will be there, available ready to talk, and even ‘do a deal’ the better.

Follow up, follow up, follow up.

Persistence pays off, although you do need to have a ‘tyre-kicker’ identifier in place, as you can spend a lot of time following up people with little real intent of a commercial relationship and transaction. Similarly, following up your competitors neighbour, or committed customer is just a waste of your resources. However, this is no different to the normal situation,  every business needs some sort of lead scoring system. It is just that at a trade show, the numbers can become overwhelming very quickly, and it is easy to lose focus and waste resources.

Automate the contact collection process.

Most conferences these days have entrance tags that enable direct input of a visitors details in your CRM/lead management systems. Use them, it makes little sense having people copying out business cards after the day has finished, or getting visitors to fill in a form. Simple automation improves productivity enormously, freeing you up to engage with visitors without interruption.  Trade shows are great opportunities to build your contact data base, and as the old saying goes,’the money is in the list’.

Relationships are crucial.

Trade shows are wonderful opportunities to strengthen existing relationships and forge new ones. It is a huge networking opportunity, all those interested people coming to you, rather than you having to trawl through LinkedIn one by one, spend advertising funds. The opportunity to forge relationships with a wider group than you would normally interact with, particularly with businesses with complementary services to yours can be gold.

Learn about the innovations in your and complementary areas.

Exhibitors typically show off their latest and greatest, so it is a great opportunity to see what is evolving in areas that may impact you, and that you might be able to pass on to your customers, building on your position as a trusted advisor, rather than just a supplier.

Learn about the problems current & potential customers have.

It is casual, ‘non-salesy’ conversations that often uncover the problems that are the sources of value you can add,  and opportunities to be followed up. Have as many of these conversations as possible, always seeking to understand the problems others have, rather than flogging the features of whatever it is you sell.

Ensure the elevator pitch is clear, and delivered by all in the same way.

Having a clear, well tested elevator pitch is crucial at all times, but never more important than at a trade show, when it  will need to be delivered many times, and by different people manning your stand. Not only do you want to grab the attention of those to whom you can add value, and the elevator pitch is a terrific filtering device, you want those who hear it to remember the salient points so they can relate it to others in their networks. Trade shows are meeting places, and nobody attends without meeting up with someone they have not seen for a while, ex colleagues, customers, old friends, and having them able to recite your pitch acts as a strong referral.

In addition, ensure that your elevator pitch is reflected in the exhibitor listings, so the scanner who may be your ideal customer can see clearly the value you deliver. Flick though any exhibitor listing, and you remain in the dark about what half of them actually do, and very few make the listing sufficiently compelling so  that you file it away as a ‘must visit’ stand.

Collateral material.

Ensure the collateral material, be it analogue or digital is in order, and created thoughtfully, and differentiates you from your competition, rather than putting some generic stuff together as a last minute rush.

Provide a next step for everyone who engages towards a relationship.

Successful B2B selling is a process, rarely a once-off interaction. It makes sense therefore to be very clear about the next step towards a transaction that may arise during the show, from more detailed information available on the stand, to follow up visits, availability of engineering resources, referrals to existing customers who will support your claims, and many others.

Make your stand compelling.

It does not have to be the biggest, or most lavish,  but it has to stand out, and particularly be attractive to  your ideal customers. Having a clear definition of your value proposition and ideal customer profile, then spending a few dollars on designing the stand to be particularly attractive to that group will pay big dividends.

Leverage your relationships

Sharing your relationships with other exhibitors, is a powerful strategy to position yourself as an expert. Take opportunities to speak at the conference sessions, which further positions you as an expert, and make sure you do a lot of preparation to make the presentation a good one

Keep metrics of follow up and conversion success.

Understanding the dynamics of your conversion funnel is vital at all times, but never more than when you are following up a large number of potential leads generated in a short time, where the opportunity to waste time on tyre-kickers is geometrically increased. A significant change in your numbers may be an indication that your lead scoring systems are in need of review.

Measure the ROI of the show,

Apply the measures over a long period to allow sales conversion and retention to be a part of the equation. Sales is a process, and depending on your product, can have long gestation periods, so ensure to accommodate the average gestation in your calculations.

Plan everything,

Leaving organisation of the detail to the last moment will not work. Spend time up front planning, not just your presence, but who else is going, decide who you want to connect with.  Too many times I have seen last minute printing errors, poor editing leaving spelling and contact detail errors, wasteful premiums, redundant material, and obvious absences from stands, just because nobody thought it important enough to do the detailed planning, and allocate responsibility to get the job done in plenty of time. Sensible planning also increases the productivity of your investment, as last minute rush jobs always cost more, and are never as good as when real consideration is applied. Be prudent, but be prepared to spend that bit extra to leverage the investment already made.

Be early for everything.

Often that is when the best casual conversations happen, when there is few pressures of time and other people.

Have a senior management presence.

Often I have seen stands at trade shows manned by bored sales people who would rather be elsewhere, or casual staff who know very little, and have no authority to do anything. Success comes from commitment, and the presence of senior management is a sign of commitment, to everyone. Besides, most bosses spend way too much time closeted in their offices and meetings, when they need to get ‘out of the building’ and talk to real people, those who do not see things as they do, and who have no institutional pressure to agree.

The costs of trade shows are significant, not just the stand, and material, but in the costs of planning, manning, travel and accommodation, and following up. The investment can be easily wasted, or alternatively, it can just as easily be turned into a marketing goldmine with a little thought and planning.

Photo credit: Joe Flood via Flikr

9 forces you must harness to be a successful C21 marketer

9 forces you must harness to be a successful C21 marketer

The tools of Marketing have changed, not just a bit, but totally, since the century clock ticked over.

The scary thing is that it seems to me that we have seen nothing yet. It is becoming more unpredictable than riding a wild bull every day!

While the tools have changed, and will continue to do so, the foundations remain intact. The successful marketer in the rest of the 21st century must reconcile the complexity and technology of the tools, with the simple and unchanged foundations of marketing success.

Following are the nine macro forces I see that businesses, and their marketing leaders should be considering:

The power of information.

Technology has put the power of information into the hands of the consumer, wherever they are. The tools that have achieved this, social platforms, mobile, the ubiquity of the net, have interacted to destroy  all the rules of marketing beyond the basic principals. We used to say information is power, and that remains true, it is just that the power is now in different hands, and they are not afraid to use it.

Brand building.

Building a brand is not what it used to be.  C19 marketing relied on scale, large ad dollars placed by large companies who could scale distribution, supported by the scale of capital intensive manufacturing. The brand powerhouses of the C19 are in trouble as options pop up everywhere, supported by direct to interested consumer marketing.

However, all is not lost, access direct to consumers has enabled a whole new group of brands to emerge based on the direct digital access.

Advertising in crisis.

Advertising as an industry is in real trouble. This is  not  the divide between the analogue TV, radio and magazine Vs the Gooface digital advertising duopoly, but the opportunity that consumers have to remove advertising from their environment by a combination of ad blockers and subscription based streaming services.   The communication challenge will become harder as consumers avoid more and more advertising to minimise the disruption, in the process, removing the opportunity for advertising serendipity.

Bureaucracies no longer work.

The pace of change has been so fast that the siloed and bureaucratic organisation and management structures of the past no longer move  quickly enough to respond in real time to the requirements of the market place. The businesses that succeed into the future will be those that enable the decision making to be decentralised in meaningful ways such that those in direct contact with the market and customers have the power to make often substantial decisions, This is a really challenging prospect to everything that has been true about organisations for the last 150 years. I see it as an external extension of the Lean manufacturing notion of Takt time, but instead of companies using the rhythms of demand to drive their operational responses, they need to reverse it to be able to be in advance of the market Takt time, to understand and respond to the drivers of demand, to remain competitive.

Consumer power.

The locus of power has moved from those doing the selling to those doing the buying. No longer do sellers have the information needed to make a purchase decision that they can dole out to potential customers in any way that best suits their sales strategies. Now, in most cases, a seller does not know of a buyers interest in a market until their decision is made, or almost made. In these circumstances, getting on customers radar early is essential as a means to be on the short list, which offers the opportunity to at least have a conversation.

Brands are no longer the authorities they once were, that role has been taken by individuals who have managed to build a profile, usually digitally, that attracts attention and offers credibility. There are however some exceptions, and these exceptions are mostly brands that have emerged in the C21

Buyer journey.

The journey of  a buyer is a minefield. Back in the old days, last century, it was pretty simple, there were few choices realistically available, mostly serviced  from the local area, and the sellers had the power. Now  there are a huge range of choices, and often confronted by the range consumers either filter out all but the very few, or decide not to decide, becoming hypnotised by the array of choice, with all the competing claims. Therefore, the first battle is the one for attention. In this situation, you would think that brands have a real role to play, but largely, that hole remains to be filled, which will be I believe the challenge for the 21st century marketer.

Big data oxymoron.

The oxymoron of big data is coming. We have all  this data sourced from an array of places, and cobbled together by algorithms to give us insights and detail never dreamed of just a few years ago. However, big data is all really about going to the level of the individual, so it is in some ways, small data. Market segmentation is moving from broad demographic descriptors that had little to do with actual behaviour, to a segment of one. The implications of this are profound, in that customers can choose to do business not just on an ‘algorithmic’ basis, but on a personal one as well.

Marketing is data driven: with a twist.

Marketing used to be all about people, emotion, supposition, instinct, and experience, mixed with often lethal doses of bullshit. Suddenly all the imformation we marketers had ever dreamed of turned up on our desks as data, and we dove in trying to become data nerds, a role entirely unsuited to most, so the new shiny thing, the tools, became the obsession, rather than the insights that the tools could  deliver. The pendulum swung too far, and it is still swinging, but in my assessment, the pace of  the swing is slowing, and slowly the realisation will again emerge that people really do matter, and you cannot learn that from data, you have to go out to where the people are, and actually talk to them, face to face, one to one, to get a grasp of the humanity behind all  the data.,

Marketers in the C-Suite.

Marketers have never been held in high esteem by the ‘C-Suite’  as the Americans love to call it. To a significant extend to my mind this is for two reasons: first, marketers have not often been the smartest people in the room, as measured by the normal things that are all about the optimisation and continuation of the status quo, they have been flaky. Second, they are the future tellers, talking and speculating about what might happen, and then having a number of bets on the table depending on the variables that show up, so holding marketers to a data driven world has been hard. By contrast, the other functions in the c-suite are all about what has happened, the past, so it is relatively easier to produce hard facts and data to describe it. This difference makes the marketers look by contrast they are having each way bets, and perhaps do not know what they are doing, and neither is healthy.  This has to change, and I believe the change is starting, as what has happened is an increasingly bad indicator of what will happen, and it is the informed, creative but analytically capable flakey ones who can demonstrate value are usually best placed to place the bets on the future.

There are several items above that will generate discussion, which I look forward to hearing.


Image credit: Tom Driggers via Flikr

The essential template for profitable management of key, Strategically important customers.

The essential template for profitable management of key, Strategically important customers.

One of the current marketing buzzwords is ‘ABM,’ or Account Based Marketing. It is heralded as the panacea for all B2B sales challenges, generally with the caveat that you buy their software.

What utter Bollocks.

Allocating resources against important, and potentially important customers is about the oldest strategy in sales. I am pretty sure that Cato the grain merchant took Decimus, the biggest baker in Rome to that hot little restaurant in the forum for lunch and a few vinos in 200BC.

Certainly, the whole storyline of that great series ‘Madmen’ is focussed on the acquisition, holding onto and squeezing money out of an ‘Account’. In the early nineties, as a newly minted consultant, I successfully marketed a sales training program I called ‘SKAM’ or Strategic Key Account Management’.

The acronym always got at least a wry grin, and depending on circumstances, I would sometimes substitute ‘Planning’ for ‘Management’

So, to ABM.

The only thing that is new about it is that there is now a slew of software vendors promising to automate and make easy the age-old tasks of sales. There is no doubt that the software can deliver significant productivity benefits, but those benefits are absolutely dependent on doing the basics well, having a solid foundation of sales and marketing disciplines, and that has not changed. After all, if you automate a crap process, all you do is get buried in more crap quicker.

So, to the template.

Define ‘Strategically important’

Pretty obviously the first step is to define just what strategically important means in your context. To many it is those top customers, the 20% that generate the 80% of sales revenue and even more importantly, margin. It is worth remembering however, that each of those top customers were at some point, just a prospect, or a small and therefore easy to ignore customer, that grew. Really smart businesses define clearly a profile of their next group of strategically important customers, and allocate the resources to ensure that they grow to the potential they appear to have.

Have a clear strategy.

This goes hand in hand with the previous point. Without a clear strategy, the result of making often challenging choices about which markets, which types of customers, geographic locations, industry segments, technology base and many others, you will not be in a position to create a definition of what ‘strategically important’ means in your context. The default is almost always the biggest, but as noted, current size is a lagging indicator.

Articulate your value proposition.

Again, this is utterly dependent on the first two steps being done well, as what may be valuable to one customer, will not be to another, and you do  not want to waste precious resources trying to talk to and sell to people who do not care, or have no need for what you can offer.

Create a prioritised prospect hit list.

This is a list of potential customers who fit the general profiles from the first three points. There are many ways to do this, and no one right way, but almost universally it will involve the collection and analysis of publicly available data, from which some conclusions can be drawn.

Progressively execute on, and renew the hit list. 

This is where the rubber hits the sales road, and where most marketing and sales automation cuts in, and often creates significant complication before the benefits can be seen. it is also often the first point of call for many, a huge mistake made by those seduced by the siren song of automation.

Selling is a process based on psychology and understanding the prospective customer in as much detail as possible. We all like to buy, but generally hate to be sold to. Therefore selling is about gaining the attention, and progressively, trust, that you have a solution to the problem the prospect faces, that delivers value, however value is defined in the circumstances that apply to the sale and ongoing relationship.

Rinse and repeat.

As noted, sales is a process, and the more you treat it like a process, a set of steps to be followed that enable feedback loops, learning and improvement at every stage the better.

When you find you need some wisdom gained from extensive experience to be applied, a bespoke program to be developed, or just have some of the gobbledygook and jargon explained, call me.