If a prospect asked to see your portfolio of work, what would you show? Information about your product? Data about how it’s better than the competition? A brochure that shows you are attractively priced? If this is your portfolio of work, then your role in the sales process is mostly to provide access to the product. That’s a problem. The reality is that most of the information a prospect needs about your product is readily available online these days.
Let’s rethink this a bit. If you were hiring a…
- Graphic designer, would you look for a portfolio of the work they have done for other clients? Of course you would.
- How about a landscape contractor? You know that answer. Show me the pictures!
- How about an investment professional? Would you look for evidence that she or he has solved problems for other clients and produced better-than-average returns? Yes, you would.
Lead With Examples of the Process You Use to Help
So, what does your portfolio of work look like? Could you show me pages in person or online that outline how you have identified specific problems with a client, the process by which you worked together, the plan that was developed, the performance of your plan? If you could, that would be impressive, wouldn’t it?
Most salespeople dangle their product in front of prospects hoping to capture their attention and to get them to talk. The problem is there is a sea of products on the market these days. Unless you have a clear product or price advantage (tough to maintain), dangling your product is futile. Why not dangle process instead of product? Why not lead with examples of how your personal ingredient has made a big difference for a client? Products tend to be a commodities, but good help is hard to find, so you should lead with your problem-solving capabilities. There will be plenty of time to show the product later.
How to Show Your Portfolio to Attract Prospects
So, how do you go about developing your own body of work? Here are some ideas:
- Go back and document the work you have done solving problems for clients and delivering solutions that provided a strong ROI. We suggest a 4P Format.
- Get yourself an old-fashioned three-ring binder and begin filling it up with the evidence of the work you have done on behalf of your clients. You do have some evidence, right?
- Listen for comments your clients make to you about the work you have done for them. Ask if you can summarize those and share them. They can go in your portfolio.
- Look for current opportunities to document the work you are doing with clients. If you think in advance about how this client might make a good case study, it will change your behavior with him or her—for the better!
- Once your binder begins to fill up, you have all sorts of ways to build your portfolio of work—a Personal Marketing Resume, your LinkedIn profile, or even a website that showcases your best work. These make great links to send to a prospects.
Would your portfolio of work look only like a long series of transactions you closed over the years? I bet it’s more than that. So document it. The next time you approach a prospect, lay out your portfolio of work in person or online. It will separate you from the herd, and will result in many more quality appointments.