Referee at football game.

Put Away the Bad Call Brick

PowerPoint – Check! 

Room full of key decision makers – Check! 

Complete misalignment of a customer needs – CHECK!

It happened, and in a big way. Halfway into the presentation, the client stopped us. Their executive pointed out that while our presentation was filled with interesting facts, it did nothing to address their current need.

We were sinking, and fast. Todd and I exchanged awkward glances as we had no room for recovery. We painfully kept plodding forward. The pitch ended, the room emptied quickly and we walked out. Unsurprisingly, without a sale.

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It was a short walk to where our CEO was waiting for us. The next 10 minutes was exactly what we needed – a clear and definitive reprimand on how we carelessly missed the clients need, rushed to deliver a product speech and potentially miss a huge opportunity. We should have known better.

It was at that moment we realized it was our responsibility to do a better job at understanding our client’s needs.

For us, this client meeting signaled a need for our way of thinking to change. Dramatically.  Gone were the days of pitching product and services then letting the client see how they’d fit.  It was at that moment we realized it was our responsibility to do a better job at understanding our client’s needs. If we didn’t want to be treated like a commodity, we had better stop acting like one.

If you have been in sales for any length of time, you are bound to have a supremely bad call. And this was ours.  However, what if you could come in understanding what the client needed?  What if you could come in with the narrative that was built around growth and/or, cost savings, that was aligned with their needs and culture?

There is a happy ending to that meeting. We regrouped and were invited back. We returned with a transformational process that helped the client not only uncover their true business needs, but define their short/long term goals while addressing their cultural landscape.  This included designing an optimal go-forward solution followed by a successful implementation. What ensued over the following months was the development and deployment of a long-term, sustainable program that is still in place today.

What ensued over the following months was the development and deployment of a long-term, sustainable program that is still in place today.

This fumble happened well over 10 years ago. Since then, Todd and I have grown our strategic approach and delivered some of the most successful, long-term relationships we had ever experienced. 

We keep the Bad Call Brick within arm’s reach, but it gathers more dust at this point.

At Alleon, we believe it is vital that organizations understand, at a strategic level, their customers and competitive advantage in the marketplace. That it is important to take the time to determine and invest in a strong, sound strategy. Once in place, this strategy will increase sales and market effectiveness and help achieve your organization’s end goals.

To have a conversation, send us a note. 

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Courtney Allen
Courtney Allen