The ideas aren’t new to me (or to you, if you have read my work for a long time), but the combination into an overall strategy is novel. There are three ideas that make up the heart of the strategy to create a competitive advantage (something I have been writing more about after launching Eat Their Lunch, a book about competitive displacements).
Dominating Time: Your dream client is going to meet with a number of salespeople and sales organizations. The amount of time from client to client will vary, but the combined total of 100% is what is important here. What percentage of the time do you get versus your competitors? If you command more of their time, you give yourself a greater opportunity to create greater value, and you are also likely to engage more stakeholders. You want to dominate the clock, crowding out your competition.
Dominating Presence: This concept builds on Dominating Time. Having a physical presence in a world that is increasingly transactional, automated, and based on clicks makes human presence more rare—and more valuable. We have now reached peak Taylorism in sales, with efficiency overtaking effectiveness, and sales roles being sliced so thinly that the value creation of each role has been made equally thin. When something isn’t as effective as it needs to be, that is not a gain in efficiency. Adding a physical presence while others work to avoid the expense increases the preference to work with you.
Dominating the Narrative: This is one part mind share, one part insight, and one part content, or something along those lines anyway. If you are the one that can teach people why they need to change (how to better understand their world), teach them how to change (including the choices and trade-offs they are going to be faced with making), and inform how they need to pursue that change by controlling the process (see The Lost Art of Closing) you are likely to win their business. You want to own the narrative.
I’ll add one more idea here worth thinking about this week. We sometimes mistake our experience for preparation. We believe because we have done something so many times and so often, that we are prepared. I would argue against this thinking and remind you that one of the ways we squander opportunities is by not preparing and planning our approach. If you want to be able to improvise and think well on your feet, there is nothing more important than preparing.