Allen, the guy who pitched and closed multi-million-dollar Fortune 500 ad campaigns, says, "Behind every decision is an unspoken, visceral, emotional motivation. Tap that, and you win." He identifies three hidden agendas, which go beyond solving the problem at hand, and present opportunities to salespeople. Wants: This shows the decision makers that you not only understand their business, but also where it's going. Help them visualize the future and how your product/service plays a role. When prospects see that you can help them navigate, you win. Uncovering questions: "If you had to write a corporate dream, what would it be?" What frustrates you about the perceptions of your company in the marketplace?" Needs: The initial problem acknowledges that "something's missing." Decision-makers seek assurance that your solution will work. If it doesn't, it creates other problems -- their decision-making capability and credibility become questionable. In order to win, you have to show that you have their back -- you'll do what it takes to make it work. Uncovering questions: "What keeps you up at night?" "What might set your plans back?" Values: Every salesperson does homework on prospects. But many don't look at corporate mission statements and similar information to understand the context in which decisions are made. Still fewer look to understand the values of their prospect's customers. If the values of your firm don't intersect with those of the prospect and its customers, you lose. Uncovering questions: "How would you define the value system in your company? Your customers?" "What drives your business?" Like the ad campaign he created for MasterCard, Allen's advice on uncovering and addressing the hidden agenda is "Priceless." - Jim Pawlak, HartfordBusiness.com
About the Author
Kevin Allen is a masterful pitchman and perhaps best known for leading the pitch team for Mastercard’s iconic Priceless” campaign. For 20 years, he served on the front lines of business development with advertising giants McCann-WorldGroup and the Interpublic Group, and at Lowe Worldwide, where as Vice Chairman he helped the company gain Ad Age’s recognition as Turnaround Agency of the Year” in 2009. Growing big global brands, including Citigroup, Nokia, Nestle, Deutsche Bank, Johnson & Johnson, and Unilever has been the focus of his career. Now at the helm of KevinAllenPartners, a company dedicated to growth services, training, and mentorship, his client list includes Omnicom, Swedbank, M&C Saatchi, Burberry, and Smythson. A frequent speaker at advertising and marketing conferences, Kevin is also a visiting lecturer at the European Business School of Regents College London and Columbia University Graduate School of Business. A graduate of Dowling College, he holds a Certificate in Economics from Queen Mary College, University of London, and an MBA from Adelphi University.
Lawrence Flanagan: Lawrence Flanagan is the Executive Dean of College of Business at the University of New Haven. He is regarded as one of the most accomplished global marketing leaders in the country.