I just read Carole Mahoney's article "Are experts still needed in the age of the business blog?" and it made me wonder, "Are we turning into a world full of DIY-ers?" "Do we believe that we are more self-sufficient than we are?" It made me reflect back on some of the conversations that I've had recently.
Are you the best expert you know? When you are interacting with a prospect and you need a blog post, e-book, video, case study or some other example to illustrate or explain something to your prospect, do you always use your company's material or do you sometimes use other expert's material? When you write a blog post or comment on someone else's blog post, do you only link back to your material or do you reference and link to others? What message are you sending to your prospect? Do you really think that by only referencing your material, you will somehow convince the reader that you are the smartest person in the whole world? Or, are you afraid that if you reference someone else, the readers will figure out that you really don't know what you're talking about? Doesn't making it all about your expertise make it seem more sale-sy and show your prospect that you're not willing or able to offer total solutions?
Do you fix before you diagnose? Do you ask a lot of questions when a prospect appears on your radar or do you ask whether they have an issue and when they say, "Yes.", you say, "I can fix that." and start selling. (If you do, get yourself fixed.) Many experts are using some kind of assessment, evaluation or needs analysis to diagnose the problem(s) fully before they start prescribing, proposing or fixing their prospect's or client's problems. I was involved in a LinkedIn Group discussion this week where the person that started the discussion indicated that they weren't converting leads to sales. She wondered if she should start reading books on sales, or get some sales training. It was a pretty active discussion and I suggested that she get evaluated as a salesperson. Ends up that she's gonna buy some sales training. What a dope! (She doesn't read my blog. So there's no chance that I'll make her cry.) Imagine if one of her prospects said, "I know more than you. This will fix my issue. Do it." How does she know what training to buy if she doesn't know why she can't sell? So, here are the real questions. Do you believe that you can diagnose your prospect's issues better than they can? Do you believe that you can diagnose your own issues better than an expert can diagnose your issues? Are you a hypocrite?
Are you trainable and/or coachable? I just did an evaluation of a sales team that had an interesting result. Almost the entire team was found to be not trainable, but almost the entire team was found to be coachable. Up until a few years ago, the only suggestion for untrainable salespeople was 'take what they give you, but don't invest in them. Replace them if they don't have other redeeming qualities. They don't have the incentive to change. They'll agree that they need better results, but they won't change the things that need to be changed to get different results. They'll want suggestions. They'll want tricks, processes, methodologies, but they won't execute. However, a few years ago, OMG adjusted the evaluation to identify the one crucial element that needed to be changed in order to give a person incentive to change and often the potential for growth is 10-15x. Read about it here.