When the Best Solution Is NOT Your Offering


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Have you ever found, when doing Discovery with a prospect, that the problem they face may not be best addressed by your offering – that another organization’s product would be better choice for them?  Do you go ahead and propose your offering anyway or do you suggest a solution from another company?  (Note – I’m not talking about direct competitors’ products, but other non-direct competitor alternatives…)

A few thoughts:

First, the quest for rapid revenue may not be the right choice, particularly if the main problem faced by the customer requires capabilities that you don’t offer.  An example?  A customer called me asking for demo skills training for his team.  In our Discovery conversation, I realized that his team had a bigger need for behavioral presentation skills training than for demo skills.  I could have gone ahead with delivering demo skills training, but felt he’d be better served by training his team to get more comfortable in front of audiences (body position, word pace, tone, etc.)  I suggested he talk with the folks at Mandel Communications (who do a delightful job teaching people how to present).  He did and put his team through their training.  Some months later, he called me again and said his team was ready for demo skills training (and they were) and we did a series of very successful Great Demo! Workshops. 

Interestingly, making a recommendation that is NOT your offering can pay delightful dividends, in terms of dramatically increased earned credibility and trust.  Your prospect will likely come back to you, the next time they are looking for solution to a problem, rather than your competition.  This is exactly what happened in this case – my customer told me, after our first Workshop, that he preferentially chose Great Demo! because of my initial recommendation for behavioral presentation skills training.

You’ve become a trusted advisor – as opposed to simply pushing a product.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peter Cohan
Have you ever seen a bad software demonstration? Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of Great Demo!, focused on helping software organizations improve the success rates of their demos. He authored Great Demo! - how to prepare and deliver surprisingly compelling software demonstrations. Peter has experience as an individual contributor, manager and senior management in marketing, sales, and business development. He has also been, and continues to be, a customer.


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