At Predictive ROI, we talk a lot about the Trojan Horse of Sales. Most of us are familiar with the old legend of how the Greeks fooled the Trojans into taking a giant wooden horse filled with Greek soldiers into the city of Troy. This allowed the Greeks to open the gates for their whole army, giving them the city and ending the war. The Trojan Horse of Sales isn’t so sneaky and doesn’t involve warfare, but it is a bold and effective strategy.
One of the most important things to learn from the story of the Trojan Horse is how well the Greeks knew their audience. The horse was the symbol of Troy, a victory token for when the Trojans thought they saw the Greeks sail away. Knowing how to approach your target audience comes down to asking the right questions and building your client avatar – an accurate representation of the people you want to attract. From there, we can put together the cornerstone of the Trojan Horse of Sales: the Dream 25 list.
The Dream 25 list is simple: it’s the list of the 25 clients you dream of working with. Getting there is the part that’s not so simple. Too many business owners say “I want to work with Harley-Davidson” or “I want IBM as a client”. Admirable goals, but they’re too general. EVERYBODY wants to have a big, successful company as their client. But if you cast your nets that wide, you might end up scaring away all the fish.
Enter the avatar. This is the ideal individual client for you. Many people think they know who this person is, but they’ve never stopped to look at all the moving pieces involved in a business relationship. Determining your avatar is meant to grease the wheels of this process and help you understand who your company is really for. To do so, start with determining how you’d answer these three questions as they pass through the mind of a future dream client:
- Who are you?
- Why do I care?
- What’s in it for me?
If you can answer these, you can make it through any meeting with any prospective client. To get into how these questions apply to each person, be sure to establish an understanding of their business. You should empathize with their challenges, pain points, values, dreams, and what they might need from you. If you can successfully answer the above questions and feel you understand a prospective customer’s business, you’ve put together your avatar.
Okay, so you’ve got your avatar. Now what? Now you construct a Dream 25 list. Each of these 25 people (notice I said people, not companies) should fit with your avatar and should be someone you connect with emotionally who is easily accessible, quick to respond, and who would be an absolute dream to work with. Know these people by name, by title, by department, and by company.
Your goal is to sell to these people, but the sales process is anything but typical. You don’t want to just cold call them and tell them about your fantastic new product or service. You want to “romance” them. Doing this means forming a connection and creating a partnership. How? By demonstrating to them what a partnership with you would mean for their business. This is your value proposition, your answer to the “What’s in it for me?” question.
The best way to do this is to feature them in one of your current content streams. If you have a podcast, YouTube channel, or article series, be sure to invite them onto it and direct your current clients to check them out. When they love that you spread the word (and they will), invite them to teach a webinar with you. You’re now giving more value to your current clients and giving more exposure to this potential client.
As the relationship grows, your value proposition should also grow. Start introducing your dream clients to some of your most relevant existing clients. Begin to grow that network of clients helping each other out with you at the epicenter, linking them all together and adding value to all of them. They’ll all be grateful to you for weaving together this beautiful tapestry of people benefiting each other and lifting each other up, and word of your generosity and partnership will echo through the halls of many future clients.
And just like that, the gates of Troy are open to you. You can hoist your flag and declare victory over your Dream 25 list. Not because you conquered them. Because you helped them.