How many times have you been asked, “What do you do?”
It’s a simple question. But the answer may prove more complex than you imagine. Following is a excerpt from my House & the Cloud Update, where I eventually answer this important question.
Consider the following scenario:
You’re attending an association meeting, social gathering, or group event. You meet someone new—perhaps an executive with a large manufacturing company in town. After striking up a conversation, an event organizer indicates he’s ready to begin the meeting, and everyone is asked to be seated. Your new acquaintance quickly asks what your company does. You have only one minute before heading to your seat.
What do you tell him?
Take a moment to write your answer on a sheet of paper. Underneath your answer, write a second sentence that explains the value your organization brings to prospective clients like the one you hypothetically met.
Every day, you meet. But how many of these interactions actually turn into long-term profitable relationships? How often do you have a value proposition that resonates so strongly that your prospect wants to formally meet with you or schedule subsequent meetings? If you’re a manufacturer with significant market share, you may have a brand that gets you in. For resellers, it’s a different story.
What Makes Your Brand Stand Out?
As a reseller, brand is associated with your product offerings. Perhaps you sell Dell, HP, Cisco or some other globally recognized technology. But in the eyes of a CIO, there are thousands of companies just like yours. When this happens, price becomes your differentiation—and it will eventually destroy your company if your business model was built like those of most resellers: high-touch salespeople supported by highly trained presales engineers or consultants. It’s an expensive model to run, unless you have a way to leverage all of that high-touch talent to close complex, margin-rich deals.
Selling commodity products does not offer a compelling differentiation story, unless it’s based on price and delivery—much the same way wholesale distribution is modeled. Consider the trends in nontechnical industries like supermarkets, hotel chains and bookstores. These industries are investing in experience to change the way people shop. Customers no longer want to shop in a basic grocery store. Instead, they demand cafés, prepared foods, banking services and a florist…
Security has the power to transform your company’s offerings, if approached correctly. It’s not a product and everyone needs it…resellers who are spending their JMF money and other marketing funds on branding are wasting their money. You’ll never have enough money to build the household name brand – unless you’re one of those rare multi-billion dollar resellers. For the average reseller – focus on direct marketing efforts, and develop the intellectual capital to be great in your focus area. Market like crazy to attract the local businesses through direct marketing efforts, and demonstrate your expertise in the follow up process…
For more on this, look for my coming announcements when the book is finally in print!
© 2014, David Stelzl