We’re up to reason #8 of the Ten Ways You Can Lose Even When You’re the Best! And reason #8 is: Your company is too modest.
This one is sooooo hard for me to understand. But yes, we have clients who think that promoting the background and talents of their team, or documenting a few of their wins, or identifying key brands in their customer portfolio is inappropriate bragging.
This flaw can raise its ugly head near the very end of the sales process, when the buyers are making their final selection. You may have put a terrific proposal in front of them, quite likely better than the proposal from your closest competitor. But the competitor included bio details about company leadership and key team members, success stories from several prestigious customers, a few succinct testimonials, and unique experiences or background that set them apart.
You’ve heard me say that you shouldn’t lead with the “all about us” stories. But before you close the sale, the buyers should know what sets you apart as a delivery team. Even having these things on your website and LinkedIn profiles is helpful because the buyers are going to check it out again when they make their final call.
A couple of examples. One client reports on their website that “the founding partners, combine more than eighty years of color separation and printing experience.” Well, let’s have their names and their particular background experiences–there are three partners and each brings unique talent and background to a project. Further, this company has produced catalogs for some of the most exciting brands in North America, but they don’t mention it. True, some customers will not permit you to brag about them. But others will approve certain kinds of publicity. If you have great clients and don’t mention them, others will assume that you do not have name brand experience.
We talked with leaders of a company that provides security services for industry, hospitals, airports, etc. Their website mentions that the founding partners have US military experience, but does not include that at least two of them were in Special Forces units. To me that background would set them apart as an elite security team whose leaders have mastered the highest levels of security practice–not just theory.
The key here is to be specific. Citing some details of your past accomplishments and those of specific team members, calling attention to key customers that you have served well, and including some honest testimonials is not bragging. Rather, it is helping your prospective new customer to feel safe in hiring you. There’s no need to spin the details or embellish them, just put them forward. Don’t force the buyers to put your story together for you–spell it out.