THE RIGHT STUFF
How a brand strategy quadrupled a sales team’s effectiveness to generate requests for proposal.
Summary: When prospecting for new leads, service providers often fall into the trap of giving away their service in hopes that the lead will come back. While this is great for building brand awareness, it does little to generate interest in a follow-up conversation. This story illustrates how a message strategy quadrupled a sales team's ability to create a buzz and a desire for their service at a marketing event.
Vision Quest Consulting is a leadership development company for top talent that represents 40 executive coaches and trainers. The CEO was preparing for a global leadership event where she and ten of her coaches would provide support for participants. The event had become a yearly marketing tool for getting in front of thousands of potential new clients.
When speaking with the team about their strategy, Jenn realized they were doing what many service providers do: providing prospective clients with complimentary coaching experiences with the hope they’d come back for more.
The problem with this approach is that the person being coached walks away knowing what to do next time, but without the support of the coach who provided that advice. The assumption is that the person will come back for support. In reality, however, that person doesn’t know they need support or they’d already have it. Plus, it’s unlikely that in such a short period of time, a coach could have accurately assessed an individual’s situation and specific challenges to provide the correct advice. The experience they could provide couldn’t possibly be an accurate representation of what it would be like to enter into a coaching relationship.
Jenn adjusted their approach by focusing the team on the bigger picture. She got them to look at their potential clients’ specific circumstances and at what exactly it is they are trying to sell each person. The participants at the event were all executives in a highly political corporate environment. They needed more than a therapist to talk through their problems; they needed an external thought partner to help them clearly understand their situations in order to make the right moves for their careers. The team’s goal at this event was not to coach participants on a single situation, but rather to help them look at where they are, where they want to be and how a coach can help them get there faster and in a more productive way. By creating this context, the team made it possible for potential clients to see the value of hiring a coach.
The Result: The team generated four times as many follow-up conversations for executive coaching proposals then they had in any previous year.