Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Selling into Early Markets with Precision Language

Had a lively discussion with Jonathan Bowder (Performance Partnership) in London today. One topic that got a bit brusied and bloodied was the use of Precision Language in the context of selling Complex Products into Early Markets.

Pretty clearly there's a revolution going on. For the first time there are now frameworks and tools that all salespeople can use to be infinitely more sophisticated in eliciting client needs, and optimally communicating a product's features and benefits. Any training in the use of these Precision Language skills will produce positive results both at the individual salesperon's level (they'll make more money), and for the parent company (more quality deals, shorter sales cycles).

From my perspective, the point of debate had to do with how Precision Language tools are actually used in real-world settings. The most notoriously difficult area for salespeople is penetrating early markets with technically complex products - the so called "market chasm" problem. Under these conditions Precision Language patterns are just one component in an arsenal of skills needed to be successful over the long term. In particular there's a deep need for a Messaging Architecture that supports the needs & value elicitation processes. As a trainer I feel we run the risk of sending our clients to a gun fight armed with a scalpel unless we coach them through language Patterns specific to their needs!

In fairness, this presents, in and of itself a much greater challenge when dealing with corporate clients... there's always a desire to find a quick, short term fix. Time will tell how these challenges are best addressed.

Reference: Geoffey Moore "Crossing the Chasm" (revised 1999)