If you want to competitively displace your dream client’s current partner, you first have to command a greater share of mind. You have to shape their thinking about the results they are producing now, the results they need to produce, and what is necessary to produce those results. Your measure of mindshare is the measure of how compelled your dream client is to change from the status quo, the devil they know, to something new, the devil they have not yet met—but surely will, if they decide to change.
Mindshare isn’t limited to an individual stakeholder. It isn’t limited to a power sponsor, or champion, or however your methodology categorizes the single individual that I call the CEO of the Problem, the person whose responsibility it is to produce results in the area where you make a difference. You need vertical mindshare, North and South. You need it inside the department where you do most of your work, as well as horizontal mindshare — all of the other departments who are going to be impacted by any decision to change — and who can kill a change initiative by defending the status quo.
Mindshare is what leads to preference, something we don’t spend enough time thinking about, talking about, or working on when it comes to sales. To win a deal, your dream client has to prefer you to doing nothing, to alternatives, and to your competitors. They have to want to add you and your team to their team. They have to believe that they are better off with you than they are with their current provider, something different, or one of your competitors.
If you make sales, you spend a lot of time calling on clients, and you work to create and capture opportunities.
- If you rely on your product, your service, or your solution to win the battle for mindshare and preference, you are going to be sorely disappointed. What you sell isn’t going to be enough.
- If you depend on your pricing, you are going to be defeated by those who have decided to compete for mindshare and preference, and who can justify the delta with better results, and who can tie what they are doing to your dream client’s bigger strategy.
Winning deals now means winning the war for mindshare and creating a dominating preference.