If you’re an author, speaker or thought leader you’ve managed to navigate your way into the somewhat choppy waters of the content business. You make your money by monetizing your work. You may do that through traditional means such as speaking or writing (although as most of us know very few thought leaders make any sort of real money from the writing side of their business) or you may do so by leveraging your content in more robust ways such as assessment tools, organizational diagnostics, licensing, video enabled training, etc. Regardless of how you are currently deploying your work there are three things to take into account in order to win in the marketplace.
3 Things Thought Leaders Need to do to Win Business Today
1. Be easy to work with
The world is getting more complex every day. Your client does not have the time or energy to decipher why your work is valuable and how it will be of benefit to their organization. Being easy means two things actually.
Operational ease is the first. Are you easy to work with? Are you contracts concise? Are you requirements a complex? Make it easy for the client to work with you and interact with your company at every touch point every time. I’m shocked at how difficult the simple things like scheduling a call or a meeting are with far too many thought leaders.
The second element of being easy is relative to your content. Complex models may score points in the world of academia but if you can’t clearly articulate what you do and how it works you are burdening the buyer with a cognitive load that they certainly did not sign up for. Think of Google’s home page, think of your favorite Apple device. Simple, intuitive, logical and easy to understand and use.
2. Create a degree of urgency
Now that you’ve done some tweaking to be easier to work with, realize the next challenge is to instill a sense of urgency in prospects and clients. Far too many authors and thought leaders have created great content that are “nice to haves” as opposed to “must haves”. People are busier today than ever before and the cadence of business is not going to slow down anytime soon. How do you ensure that your initiative winds up at the top of someone’s to do list? Instill a sense of urgency into the process.
First: Make yourself and your organization somewhat scarce (i.e. – we only take on x number of clients a year, or projects that are incredibly interesting to us from a research perspective).
Second: Tie what you do to an initiative or business objective that is a priority for your client and is getting “favored nation” status currently.
Without a degree of urgency it is far too easy for you to languish and not get the green light.
3. Know who owns it
Today, decisions are not typically made by one individual at an enterprise level. We live in an age where the lines are blurred. Is that a marketing initiative or a technology roll out? Hmmm, both. Great let’s get both of the decision makers involved. Is it an HR issue or a strategic business initiative? Is it a talent development problem or is it a sales problem? Given that more and more people are getting involved in the decision making process at most organizations it’s important to understand who owns your project? Whose budget does it come from and who will benefit the most by working with you? It’s key to establish clarity around ownership as early and as often in the process as you can.
I’d suggest you take a step back and do an analysis of your organization from an ease, urgency and ownership perspective to see where you can tighten things up so that you can win more business, more often in less time then you have been.