Despite being featured in national press, TV & radio, when it comes to securing new business, I’m still a rookie. I’m still learning. I’m still not where I want to be as a ‘seller’ of my own service.
So, when award-winning digital Marketing agency Hydra Creative invited me to meet the directors, with a view to me taking their first ever set of pro staff images, I found myself faced with the same dilemmas I’d previously faced when pitching to The University of Sheffield, for example, and those dilemmas were,
‘How do I best serve a company of this scale?’
‘What do I say during the pitch?’
‘How do I give myself the best possible chance of securing this great contract?’
The answer was beautifully straight-forward:
I did nothing, except listen.
“Hey CK, thanks for coming to see us,” offered Gemma, company director.
What happened next took nerves of steel, but I knew it made sense, so I took a breath and said,
“You too, thank you for inviting me to see you. So, tell me about Hydra.”
I could tell, immediately, that my approach was unexpected, as Gemma paused for a second, pondered my curious question, then revealed one particular problem impeding the company.
The problem was that due to their own success, PR opportunities have opened-up for them, with industry magazines & online platforms wanting to feature their creative solutions. Alas, Hydra had no ‘WOW’ images to support said features, so valuable press opportunities were passing them by.
Eureka – I found what I was looking for… a ‘problem’, a problem I could now eliminate by offering a powerful ‘solution’,
Now, let’s imagine for a second that instead of asking Gemma about Hydra, I sat down and proceeded to tell her about my TV & radio appearances. Imagine further, if I opened our meeting by whipping out my tablet, showing her my latest headshots. Imagine if I had the audacity to prioritise my ego over her problem(s).
Gemma doesn’t care about me, no one really cares about me, because as conveyed in one of my favourite sayings of all time, ‘never underestimate how invested people are in their own problems.’
I first heard this saying in one of my favourite TV shows (The Practice), and thankfully, my new-found commitment to listening and solving problems (as opposed to talking and stroking my own ego) comes via my coaching by Mr Jon Covey esquire.
In summary, through constant learning (and invaluable coaching from Jon), I’ve discovered that effective ‘selling’ isn’t about ‘selling’ a product or a service, it’s simply about providing powerful solutions to irritating problems.
Listen, don’t talk.
Ask, don’t tell.
Solve, don’t sell.
Watch the behind the scenes video of my photo shoot with Hydra Creative below: