By February 11, 2009 12 Comments Read More →

Consultant Besieges Wèi To Rescue Zhào

Finding the weakest link is unarguably the best technique of winning. In sports, politics, negotiations, wars. You name it. If the idea is so universal then how can I apply it in consulting? How can I win more new customers? Consultant and the Weakest Link 
by JoopDorresteijn

How can I expand my services with the existing customers?

I adopted another winning stratagem – Besiege Wèi to rescue Zhào:

The idea here is to avoid a head on battle with a strong enemy, and instead strike at his weakness elsewhere. – Wikipedia

Here is how I successfully applied it for both cases – winning new customers and expanding my services with existing ones.


Winning A Customer

The common mistake is when approaching new customer is trying to impress with the abilities of your services or product. It’s rarely successful for winning new customers. At least from my observations. The customer is in superior position comparing to you. The customer is stronger than you. I cannot win in head to head battle with a stronger ….ehm [allegoric] adversary.

Pain is the name of the game. Pain that customers feel is their weakest link one should target. Find out the pain, then push your envelope and not the other way around. Sometimes the customer is not even know she is in pain. You must help the customer reveal the latent pain. To find the pain you might want to follow these steps:

  • Know industry trends.
  • Know well the customer’s vertical.
  • Research on customer’s financial performance.
  • Research on customer’s organization structure.
  • Research on customer’s customers.
  • Research on customer’s partners and supplier.
  • Research on customer’s previous successful and failed projects.

After such research you should have plenty of ideas what customer’s weakest link is. Found out? Now you can offer compelling offer and win.

    A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” – Proverb.

    Practice This – Get Results

    • Know customers pain – then push your envelope, not the other way around. 
    • Stronger not always wins – smarter does. Smarter knows how to win even when losing. Win smart.
    • Prepare to the battle.

    Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win – Sun Tzu.

    My Related Posts

    Posted in: Consulting

    About the Author:

    This blog is dedicated to share simple practices I that get me results.

    12 Comments on "Consultant Besieges Wèi To Rescue Zhào"

    Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

    1. tom says:

      You bring up an interesting point, i see way too many businesses talking down to customers as if they know it all and they are doing them a favour.

      When i was renting a car after my accident, the place required you to put down your credit card, despite my insurance company paying for the rental. This was in case any parking tickets were issued while the car is in your position.
      The guy before me said it was bullshit and the owner did not help out either, he simply said its our policy.
      The guy told him off and stormed off.

      So let’s see, you lost a customer, and his insurance company is going to cut off your rental company now, what did you achieve?

    2. Boy this really strikes home to me in what I’m trying to do to share my music. Learning to play my own songs on guitar while singing them has been my biggest hold-up with my music, it is such a mental challenge to be singing one melody and doing totally different things with my hands rhythmically, but now I am really working at that “weak link” almost every day and going for it — no more excuses for me!

    3. J.D. Meier says:

      It’s empathic listening, seeking 3rd alternatives, and knowing that pain is a stronger motivator than opportunity.

    4. alik levin says:

      tom,
      I like real world stories like yours.
      What you describe is a poor customer service we have commonplace. That’s another story, what’s for sure such services never helps expanding with the existing customers nor helps winning new ones.

      Jannie,
      So, you identified your weakest link, are all set for success. You are all set to win yourself ;)

      JD,
      Seeking 3rd alternatives is very practical approach that gets results. Many times what customers need is not what i can offer. The easiest is to give up, but the smartest is seeking the 3rd alternatives. That surely builds trust w/customers and helps winning their hearts ;)

    5. Davina says:

      Hi Alik.
      Ain’t this the truth! I couldn’t agree more. When I see that someone is trying to sell me something, I immediately put a wall up. But approaching another as a human being, on common ground is a more authentic way to do business and to learn what needs your customer has.

    6. Identifying the weakest link in any situation is often a great way to start streamlining and improving product or service offerings. Great thoughts!

    7. Liara Covert says:

      You make a significant point when you mention that strength does not necessarily reflect intelligence or, a desirable strategy. You can tell yourself over and over that you have been treated unfairly in some situation but playing victim does not serve you. Taking responsibility for where you are and how you act, matters. In order to attract progress, it makes sense to applaud it and learn from it wherever you sense it.

    8. You are spot on about finding the pain, help them see it; if you need to. Then show them your value in removing the pain.
      Great post, a lot of helpful tips here.
      Thanks,
      Giovanna Garcia
      Imperfect Action is better than No Action

    9. I have never thought of finding the weakest link. hmmm
      This would go right along with my first policy which is to Look. I’ll have to try this one out.

    10. alik levin says:

      Melissa,
      Great to hear you liked it. Streamlining is the word I use often too ;)

      Liara,
      Learning and researching is key, agreed 100%!

      Giovanna,
      Show the value removing the pain – BOOM!
      Great to hear you found it useful and practical.
      It’s an honor to hear such supporting words from entrepreneur like yourself

      Sheila,
      Look and find the pain. Then remove it, show your value (adopted from Giovanna ;) )

    11. alik levin says:

      Davina,
      I have the same reaction when approached by pushy salesman. You won’t believe but just hung up on another one right now. I’d listen to her if she started asking about my needs and not pushing their stuff that is completely useless to me.

    Post a Comment