Monday, November 28, 2011

What's The 'Compelling Event' That Makes You Essential in Any Economy?

I saw this 'Blinking indicates...' notice on an elevator in Winnipeg during a recent business trip and it got me thinking...

Imagine being on that elevator and it suddenly stops between floors for some unknown reason. Panic!!

Have you ever been in a situation like that?

Have you experienced an event that causes a quick jump in your heart rate, increased panic, urgency or worry and the automatic search for an immediate solution?

The trapped in an elevator scenario could be defined as a 'compelling event'. If you are one of those people stuck in that metal box hanging by a wire you are compelled to find a solution immediately. You don't want a solution tomorrow or in a month. You want an answer RIGHT NOW!!!

Let me back up for one second to explain that the idea I'm sharing is related to three timeless questions that every human (or group of humans) who cares about being viewed as essential by the people that hold the purse strings should answer: 

Question One: Why do the people you are selling to buy anything?
Question Two: Why should they buy/choose you?
Question Three: Why should they buy/decide now!?

Question One relates to the core needs and wants of the people you are selling to. This could apply to your boss, your peers or your clients. How well do you really understand their motivations/needs/pains etc.?

Question Two relates to your competitive advantage or differentiation from others in your field. How well do you understand others in your field and how you stand apart from them?

Question Three
is the focus of this discussion. I'm starting in reverse and will cover the other two questions in future blog posts. Question Three is about defining the compelling event that makes you essential and moves people to make a decision quickly.

There are real and manufactured compelling events. 

A classic example of a manufactured compelling event is a time or quantity limited offer. These types of events are called 'door crashers' and 'blue-light specials' and are proven to motivate people to buy.

In comparison, a real compelling event is a high stakes moment or series of moments that people have that they need help to get through successfully. These are the times when people seek out experts because when their reputation, health, money or relationships are on the line it is easy to justify spending the time, energy and money to get help.

When the stakes are high that's when you want to be THE guy on their mind!

A compelling event that I've experienced many times is when marketing or product managers are launching a new product. There are deadlines and sales expectations to hit. Product launches are high profile, stressful events with reputations on the line.

When companies are launching products, a new service or even a new company this is when I've been called to the table to help them feel more confident in how they are communicating the value of their offering. These are moments when I shine and offer tremendous value. These are also moments when budgets are sizable and there is little haggling over price, which also helps to bring out my best!

With the research and strategic planning work that I do for corporate clients I want to be known as an essential person on the team when a new product is going to be launched.  A product launch is a compelling event that creates demand for the greatest value I can offer to companies. It is truly a win-win scenario.

Here's how to identify your compelling event

To identify compelling events think about the times when you are sought after. More specifically, what are the most urgent, critical, high stakes, reputation on the line moments that people are willing to pay handsomely to solve that bring out your greatest talents and passion? These are the moments when you deliver the maximum value you can deliver.

The bottom line of why this matters

A compelling event drives people to make a buying decision quickly. Any delay in purchasing a solution will have negative consequences. A delay could harm a person's (or organization's) financial situation, relationships, reputation or health.  I believe that positioning yourself, your products or services as the expert in helping a specific group of people with a specific compelling event, or series of connected events is one of the most powerful strategies you can tap into to ensure you are needed and wanted in any economy.

Define your compelling event. Do it right now!

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