Monday, February 11, 2008

Welcome to the Wedge

I want to publicly thank Robin Robins for constantly exposing me to great ideas.

I don't always do all the great things I know I should. But I love the exposure to new ideas.

And Holy Smokes, Batman, here's a great one. On a recent mastermind call-in, Robin interviewed Randy Schwantz, author of How to Get Your Competition Fired. Go buy that book. Now. Today.

Here's the gist of the "Wedge" sales technique:

The Premise

- Almost all of your prospects already have a consultant.

- Generally speaking, a prospect is happy with her consultant . . .

- Because she's "settled" or

- She doesn't know how great you are.

The Strategy

You need to drive a wedge between your prospect and their current consultant. BUT you can't bad-mouth your competition. That puts the prospect on the defense.

Remember: Inertia is your enemy. It is easier to make no change than to make some change.

Your goal, then, is to get the prospect to see and desire your superior service. Once they do this, they will choose to hire you. But it will be their idea and their decision.

The Technique

The basic "Wedge" technique is to ask a series of carefully crafted questions, the answer to which is "My consultant doesn't do that."

The format for the questions is simple and easy to learn:

[ Preamble that describes a service ] +
[ Question that assumes client is receiving this service ] +
[ Shut up and let the client talk themselves out of their current provider ]

Examples

Here are some examples I came up with of how you would use this technique for an I.T. business:

1.
"At the end of the year, when your technology consultant copies all of your network documentation, scans it to a CD, and gives it to you to store with your offsite backups, is this data in a format that's easy for you to access? Is there an extra charge for this?"

"My consultant doesn't do that."

Note: The prospect might even say (dismissively), "We don't need that."

Okay. No problem. Can I ask you another question?

2.
"Every month when your technical service provider emails you a report of the overall health of your computers with security patch information, does that report include disc space usage for all machines?"

"My consultant doesn't do that."

Uhhh. Maybe they don't need that either.

3.
"When your users log onto the web-based support site for your technology consultant, do they each have their own logon so they can track the status of their own service tickets, or do you all share one logon? Is there are charge for multiple logons?"

"My consultant doesn't do that."

Get it?

After awhile, the prospect is asking herself "What does my consultant do? What am I paying for?"

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This is a sales technique that takes some practice and some polish. But it's an awesome strategy. You can even see how it can work with existing clients, too.

So go buy that book.

And post your example questions!

I welcome your feedback.

3 comments:

  1. "When your consultant installs security patches out of working hours, so as not to disturb your day to day work, do you get a report of which patches need manual work?"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tom Fox6:07 PM

    Hey Karl!

    Robin just recently introduced me to your site. Great stuff here!

    The Wedge really is a transforming idea for a business.

    How about:

    When your current computer service company (remember, according to Robin we're not IT guys, we're computer guys) meets with you every month or quarter to review your technology needs and how your business is growing, are you comfortable with the process they use?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous5:53 AM

    I don't understand why you would want to be a computer guy instead of an IT guy. Would you want to be a consultant or specialist?

    ReplyDelete

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