Eight or nine years ago, when I was learning to write better proposals, I came across an eye-opening realization...
We're all wired to say "no."
Why? Because it's the easy way out. If you say NO, that means you don't have to change anything.
"Mom, can I go over to Billy's to play?"
"Because I said so." (Translation: Because, if I say "yes," I'll have to stop what I'm doing to call Billy's house to make sure it's OK. Then drive you over to Billy's. Then drive back home and try to remember what the hell I was doing before you asked me to go play with Billy...)
Let's say I call you up and invite you to go out and watch a movie tonight. Saying "yes" means you might have to:
- Block out the time on your calendar.
- Let your significant other know you've got plans.
- Grab dinner somewhere before the movie.
- Decide on a movie.
And so on.
But if you say "no" you get to stay on auto-pilot. Make the same drive home, eat dinner, and binge-watch Netflix, like usual.
It's just more comfortable.
Come to think of it... That's kind of a lame example I came up with there. (I mean, come on! Who wouldn't want to go see a movie with me?)
Anyway, what's my point?
The architect you're pitching to may already have a preferred vendor. He may already have a product or service he's planning to use because it's familiar.
He's already got his "business-as-usual" going on for each project.
Sure. He'll listen to you and let you propose a new solution.
But, he's looking for his opportunity to say "no." The first roadblock or sign of trouble and he'll switch off. Bid you a good day. And go back to business-as-usual.
So how do you get past that?
Today, we're looking at Step #8 in your journey to cultivate a lasting relationship with your ideal prospect - The Architect. (You'll find links to the previous seven steps at the end of this tip.)
Let's get on to today's tip to help you remove obstacles...
Find & address all his questions and concerns to specifying your product
Always welcome (and ask for) feedback on your product information. It's the only way you can truly find out what's on his mind. By asking and being open to learning from him.
Even if you think it's a "dumb" or obvious question.
You've heard of the "curse of knowledge" before, right?
It's when you're so familiar with your product or service, you forget not everyone else has the same knowledge.
It leads you to talk over your prospects' head. Talking like he should already know all about it.
This is where his ego steps in and he'll nod his head. He'll think he should know it. So he doesn't ask any questions. But he'll walk away confused and a bit resentful. And you'll never hear from him again.
Ask for questions. Be conscious of the fact you may need to provide some education.
If you’re getting the same questions over and over - take note. Make sure your website pages and one-sheets start addressing these questions.
Especially if your product isn’t the leader in the marketplace. Be sure you highlight the unique benefits of your product. So there are fewer barriers to getting specified.
This goes back to finding out what’s important to the architect.
Is it certain test data they're looking for? Is it making sure your product helps the project meet all the relevant codes? Are there concerns for first costs versus lifetime costs?
Find the questions and spell out the answers as succinctly as you can.
Work those answers into your presentations and website content. Then he'll feel a bit more like you understand him and his concerns.
And it will help get him past his knee-jerk reaction to say "no."
I'll dig into this a bit more in a future tip. It'll teach defensive writing tips to get your proposals and substitution requests accepted.
That's it for today.
In case you've missed Steps 1 thru 7, here they are again:
- #1 - Do you start here when marketing to architects? Here's why you should...
- #2 - How to Win Over Architects: Step 2 - Research
- #3 - But do you "like-like" me? A deeper relationship with your prospect...
- #4 - Assume the position... Thank you, sir. May I have another?
- #5 - Educate The Architect about your market like nobody else can
- #6 - Racking the shotgun to find "The Architect"
- #7 - Always be searching...
Until next time...
Make it a great marketing day!