Money talks – BS walks.

Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership

I’ve mentioned in several posts that the world of sales (for non-commodity products) has changed. The consumption minded market is not going to return any time soon. We need to build trust, and so the title for this post. Demonstrate that you are willing to work to generate new money or save me money before you gain from our relationship. Otherwise, it smells like “BS” and I’m not buying.

As it was famously said, “Show me the money.” That’s what many, if not all, business owners are stating these days.

Jaynie L. Smith, in her book Creating Competitive Advantage, states that she has “offered to sell her consulting services based on performance – charge nothing up front but agree to a percent of new revenues generated as a result” of her work. I see more and more of that kind of arrangement as well as the usual fixed fee for services instead of a percent of revenues raised or 100% satisfaction guarantees from service providers. Innovation is alive and well in the service sector.

What’s NOT working is the same old tired, “I know how to increase your revenues by 15% or more. All you have to do is pay me and I’ll help you do it.” Or, “this product will revolutionize your company and all it will take is three easy payments of . . . ” Not any more! The BS walks. Even if it isn’t BS if the seller of products and/or services isn’t willing to put some skin in the game, the purchaser asks him or her to “take a walk” anyway. They do that politely, to be sure, but the result is the same.

What’s interesting is that the above has really always been true – if you aren’t willing to stand behind your product or service, it has always been very difficult to expand your business. Either you explicitly state that you will stand behind your work or demonstrate by deferred payments that you have faith that you will deliver and/or your reputation in the market place makes it clear that you stand behind your product and guarantee the results. So why is it so important now? Simply because nobody has cash to throw around or experiment with during these times. And that can be an advantage for you.

If you’re one of the many executives in transition, how can you position yourself to guarantee your ability to help the leadership team at a prospective employer? There are many ideas for you to think about at my colleagues over at Impact Hiring Solution. Key among them is to demonstrate that you have in fact done what they need done as defined by success factors for the position in question. If you’re a service provider, you can differentiate yourself by standing behind your work – offer to defer some or all of the payment until you generate the cash that will pay you. If you deliver a product, make sure you make it very clear that you will take the product back, no questions and no hassles, if the buyer is not 100% satisfied.

What are some of the innovative ways that you are finding to make clients/customers comfortable betting on your product or service? How are you putting “skin in the game?” What new things are your clients/customers in need of that they haven’t voiced to you yet? What do your customer’s customers need and how can you help satisfy those needs with a guarantee of success? More importantly, what are the excuses you are using to keep yourself from putting skin in the game?