I’ve always said and tried to explain that agency people are not necessarily or naturally “new business” people. Most agency folks are trained in creative disciplines and even to this day, seldom do university curriculums offer anything that even touches on sales or “selling.” Regardless of what someone says, even in this new age, selling is a dog-eat-dog business. Maybe it’s done with a little less angst; maybe it’s a bit more polite, but I would describe it today as misdirected and lacking in focus.
My business friend Blair Enns has been guiding agencies for years, and in his post today, and in his words, goes to greater detail in what I am referring to above. I doubt Shakespeare could do better. See if you agree.
A Target Audience of One
There is a woman. I see her clearly. She is an artist, a creator. It is her passion.
At some point she decides to make her passion her business. She opens a design firm. Owning a business demands other responsibilities of her. Now she must sell as well as create.
I see her standing in a room of people who are judging her work. Because her work is also her art, she is vulnerable. She does not see herself as a natural salesperson. Most of the advice she gets on this subject grates on her, or is laden with beguiling, debilitating conventions that cause her to feel even more vulnerable.
The business that is Win Without Pitching is built around helping this one person conquer this one situation. We teach creators how to sell. We empower them to stand up for themselves, to push back on the conventions that say they must first give their art away for free, and we help them to triumph in one of the most stressful situations in business.
Just as often, the woman is a man and the design firm will take a different form of creative practice, but I try to conjure in my mind a vivid image of the artist-business owner who must pass the test of selling in order to keep bringing her gifts to the world. I want to help her. I want my team to be heros to her.
I don’t know what other sales trainers or consultants see or even do. I don’t know or judge their motivations. All I know is, if, in our careers, we can help her and many more just like her then that will be enough for us.
In the Win Without Pitching program we have owners of other types of businesses beyond just creative firms, but they’re not with us because we pursued them. They’re here because, for reasons that are entirely their own, they identify with the artist-business owner and therefore our message resonates with them, too.
While I, too, identify strongly with this person I see so clearly, I am not her. You do not have to be your target audience of one, but you do have to have an enormous amount of empathy for her. I am not a designer, but I have huge admiration for all creators. I believe these people were born into their craft or called to it.
Let someone else help the natural salespeople, and let others help our artist with other areas of her business. This one thing for this one person we will do and we will do it better than anyone. If others find resonance in this they will be welcome, but we will stay resolutely focused on solving this problem for this person.
Against this certainty, this vivid picture, all of our big business questions become easy, their answers obvious and unavoidable.
How much confusion and inertia could you eliminate by simply answering the question, to whom are you going to be a hero?
There is a man. Can you see him clearly?
Win Without Pitching
202 B Ave #454
Kaslo, BC V0G 1M0