Tuesday 3 March 2015

How to sell KM, how not to sell KM.

Everyone trying to implement Knowledge Management is both a marketer and a salesperson. You need to think like a salesperson, and develop good sales techniques. 

I blogged recently about some great sales techniques under the heading "sell me this pen", and I would like to show you these techniques at work in the selling scene from the movie "Internship".

Firstly how not to sell. 

Here we see the young kids trying to sell Google Ads to a neighbourhood pizza restaurant, as part of the Google Internship program. Their explanation of the features of Google Ads falls flat, because the owner is just not in the market for online advertising.

This is like the KM salesman going to the stakeholders within their organisation, and saying "Knowledge Management is great. It can do this, it can do that, it uses Communities of Practice, SharePoint, Knowledge Bases". If the stakeholder is not in the market for KM, they don't care what features it has, as you can't sell it to them anyway.

How to sell

In the clip below we see Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan, as the two older salesmen who have lucked into the same internship program, trying the same sell. They do it differently. They listen, they emphasise, they reassure, they find what really matters to the owner, and through this they find the wider sell. They sell the idea "just make your neighbourhood a little bit bigger".  That's an idea the owner can appreciate, and that Google Ads can help deliver.

When selling Knowledge Management, you need to do the same.

You have to listen, emphasise,  reassure, find what really matters to the stakeholder, and then find the wider sell - whatever that is. It could be "make the deal", "reduce the risk", "protect the investment", "grow", "compete in the big league,"  and it may be different for each stakeholder.

If you find the CEO is desparate for sustainable growth or for better project performance, then you can sell KM as a solution for sustainable growth or for improving the performance of projects.

But until you find the wider sell, you can't sell Knowledge Management at all.

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