Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Sales Like Design

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These notes are taken form a workshop by Jennifer Bove, head UX asskicker of Kicker Studios.

First and foremost, let's just say sales is non-mutually exclusive equivalent of design. It's not set in stone, but let's just assume this is true for now. Think - proposals are much like presentation prototypes. Shareholders like users. A funnel of deduction that leads to an end and we finish with a product that is curated, tested, and based on good questions asked. Like design, empathy is key.

Let's take a service. A hypothetical one. We want it to be the go-to place for people interested in anything and everything cocktails. Think of it as Epicurious meets Facebook meets Meetup. We want to avoid information overload, as well as providing a mobile app and an eStore - all with a deadline for a proposal this week.

How do you approach this? Well, if you approach it like design - we simply connect the dots. When talking to our clients, ask open ended questions that get at their actual needs; how decisions are made, results they'd like to see, and ideal effect of those results. Get at the background, biggest challenges, impact, and value. You need this to win the work (instead of reciprocating exactly what they came up to you with - that usually fails 99% of the time).

Think design principles (strategic checkpoints) to see whether the client is the best fit for your company. You, as a company, need to benefit as well. Needs are needs - and they go both ways. Sales is not about persuasion, but determining a mutual fit.

Consider the process: frameworks help us determine how to hit success, so build one. Scope the client with a task flow that's familiar to building a website. Watch for client self-diagnosis and build a collaborative strategy that works for everyone. Conversation works!

Finally, consider the presentation. Sales proposals are like interfaces - one that reflects the users' intentions (not the engineer's) tends to have a higher rate of success. Consider the context, engagement, and delivery. Think of it as delivering the journey (storytelling) and use it to onboard everybody. Remember: it's about them, not you


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