I sell dreams. The largest business deals I have put together are never quantity purchases of ColorMetrix or ProofPass.com. Instead while talking with a customer or prospect I see a need or the customer sees a use of the technology that goes beyond the current functionality. This is when it gets fun. Instead of selling a piece of technology now I am selling a dream of what the technology will do for the client in the future.
These conversations always seem to start at a cocktail reception after normal business hours. This is when you have time to let your brain go and think about all the kinks and imperfections in your workflow that hinder color quality on a daily basis. For your sake I am selfish, I just want to hear about those concerns related to global verification of color utilizing internet based tools. I need to know how I can help you. How I can make your life easier and the satisfaction of your customer’s color needs something you hardly ever think about because it just works.
One such conversation began at a cocktail reception hosted by the company that would become my largest client. I was approached by a senior executive who I had worked with previously when we both held jobs with different companies. He asked if I could build an easier to use version of the ColorMetrix product for a very specific use. After jotting some notes on the back of a cocktail napkin (yes this really does happen sometimes), I said I am sure we can. The cool thing about selling software is that anything is possible given enough time and money.
Several months later he called to say he had funding. Yes, it really was that simple. I never provided a proposal (until after we had a deposit check). He purchased based upon the dream we shared. Obviously his past relationship with me convinced him I could deliver but he still had to believe that this new product was possible. The sale was made on the back of a cocktail napkin that he had hung onto for months. No fancy PowerPoint presentations. No twenty page proposal written over several days. I had sold the decision maker on the dream.
Your Challenge: You know that capital expenditure request that has been sitting on your boss’s desk for three months? I guaranty you it is not sitting there because of a lack of funding. It is sitting there because you have not sold her on the dream. I would be willing to bet you have not sold yourself on the dream. Dream the dream for yourself and then sit down with your boss and sell them the dream as well.