It´s the clean shovel phenomenon. The strategic plan was set. The budget was approved. The kickoff meeting was held. But the dirty work of change never really happened. Sure, pieces of the plan were executed, typically by motivated individuals with the internal drive to move forward.
The issue is not a desire to advance . . . that´s a natural trait held by sales and marketing pros. But, organizationally, how the message is told in the marketplace and how objections are handled determine if advances or retreats occur.
Anyone in sales, particularly those selling high-end services such as investment advisory, don´t want to — indeed, can´t personally afford to — look foolish or ill prepared. So, a well crafted plan that fails to work the messaging, the objection handling, and the personalization will meander and ultimately fail.
WPC expects a competitive repositioning will achieve great success if:
- Presentation training demonstrates to each sales person how to communicate the competitive messaging
- Objection handling (in workshops and workbooks) gives each sales or service person the confidence that an objection is not an obstacle but an opportunity
- An inventory of day-to-day communications exists (e.g. letter content; voice mail messages; e-mail messages) that drips the competitive advantages in meaningful nuggets
- A new habit emerges in which each meeting or phone conversation ends with a provocative question or two that forces the investor to think, in a meaningfully different way, about how your firm is different . . . and better
- Follow-up communications bring answers to the provocative questions into play so differentiation turns into desire
Competitive planning comes to life when married to an execution plan. WPC´s integration of investment content in a sales and marketing framework generates the words . . . that lead to action . . . that results in, well, results.
There´s an important execution reality. WPC works as a service provider alongside sales management or in the background (still under the management team’s control). If an outside consultant is not hired by sales management, the consultant becomes an interloper. And, guaranteed failure occurs.
WPC takes charge of the needed change initiatives that so often are set aside by the press of business. Then, the tactical execution directs sales management, ensuring appropriate accountability for asset retention and growth.