Friday, April 8, 2011

Can You Keep a Secret?

It’s OK.

I know you can.

But should you?

And when should you pass on a secret?

You know something the rest of us don’t know; that’s what you are selling – the brew made from your secret recipe, the experience locked inside your head, the special tricks and methods you’ve discovered.

Whatever it is, you’ve got it, and no one else has it; that’s your niche.

And here you are, mug of coffee in hand, being asked by your prospect “So, what’s your secret? How do you do it?”.

Should you tell them?

Of course you should.

It won’t take more than a minute, will it? Probably less than 30 seconds.

And how in the name of all that’s proprietary can you possibly give away the fullness of your secret in 30 seconds? You can’t. There’s no way a rookie prospect is going to take your overview and build a space shuttle from it, let alone the support system for the space shuttle.

Case in point: I know all about Microsoft Word’s styles – both paragraph and character. A prospect asks me how I’m going to achieve consistent formatting to brand their product.

“Easy!”, I say, “I’ll implement a hierarchy of styles”.

What can they do? Read the Microsoft Word help screens? Buy a book for $20 and become an expert in building style hierarchies overnight? I don’t think so.

How will they know which way to organize the hierarchy (there are as many ways as there are people in the office).

Do they really want to delve into the differences between Paragraph Styles and Character Styles? And why, at certain times, Paragraph Styles act as Character Styles?

Do you think they’ll discover fractional point font sizes, and how to craft a macro to make use of this in page alignment?

And so on.

I doubt it.

In fact, by replying to their question with just one word (triumphantly) “STYLES!”, there’s a good chance that they’ll be so overwhelmed with what’s out there that they’ll turn the whole exercise over to me. Instantly.

And how about you? What is your secret? And don’t you find it difficult to encapsulate it into a 30-second elevator speech?

I thought so!

Talk to Me !

No comments: