For the last couple weeks we have been addressing your value proposition, introducing the timeless “Before & After” approach. However, as you go through this scenario, illustrated by a simple two-column page with one labeled before and the other after, you may have noticed that we are missing a key ingredient–a “value divide” if you will–to solving the problem: the solution.
In other words: you start with defining the problem, and then you illustrate the results you created (i.e. problem solved). But in between, there was your activity or action. Ironically, this is where some sales professionals and job seekers will get bogged down FIRST, and miss the real value completely.
And yet, despite what we discussed last week, articulating the solution is more than just telling a short story about what you did. That’s just the first step. Indeed, it is an opportunity to reveal who you are (and thus a great opportunity for engagement). For example, as you devised and implemented a solution:
What challenges did you encounter? No plan ever turns out just as we expect, so what were the bumps in the road? Were they budget constraints? Technical issues? Bad weather? How did you work around these hurdles? This illustrates your capacity to improvise on the fly, making use of the resources at hand and keep your eye on the ball when something or someone is attempting to throw you off course.
Who all was involved? No man is an island, so the saying goes. Chances are that you didn’t achieve these results single-handedly. Give credit where credit is due. Praise your colleagues for their contributions. In doing this, you demonstrate your role as a team player (or leader) and that you see the bigger picture of serving the needs of the group as opposed to striving for singular glory.
How long did it take? Some of your Before & After stories may only have taken a week; others, years! Common time frames are typically in the months-to-years timescale. Knowing and communicating the duration will demonstrate you to be someone who can take the initiative and then see things through to their conclusion.
Feel—and share—the emotion. “I will never forget this one time, when all of us are waiting on the results from this beta test, and suddenly…” These are often pleasant experiences; other times painful. They can be full of humor, of anticipation, or anxiety. How did the emotional experience impact you…change you? Share this. Feel it. Make the prospect feel it with you. Shared emotions creates bonding, and bonding builds trust. Dare to be human.
What did you learn? We learn something new everyday. Share what you learned. If the experience uncovered a weakness, be up front about it. In doing so (job seekers take note here), you show a prospect that you offer not just what you can do today, but what you will be able to do tomorrow!
These are important points to remember, because they not only flesh out who you are and your commitment a greater good, but more importantly create the human dynamic that is the seed for long term, prosperous relationships.