Why we hate capabilities presentations...
Imagine a contractor calls you up and says he wants to show you some of his work.
You may not have been actively shopping for a contractor, or maybe you have. Maybe you always like having ideas for service providers in your back pocket. Maybe you've been unhappy with contractors you've used in the past, and you're curious what else is out there. For whatever reason, you say yes.
When they come, they want to wow you with their skills, and show you images of the gorgeous 5 bedroom, 7 bath homes they have built for satisfied customer after satisfied customer, their customized proprietary system for ensuring your vision meets the final product, or their unique approach to billing.
It all looks great, and you say "OK, if something comes up that matches your skills I'll definitely keep you in mind!"
Of course, you had no plans to build a 5 bedroom, 7 bath house, and that contractor's card goes from pocket to fridge, and fridge to recycling.
That's a capabilities pitch, and that is usually the outcome.
What if, instead, the contractor spent his or her time asking you about what you might want to change? Talked to you about your home, what you loved and what you didn't, and what nagging problems existed, no matter how small.
Did you know that they could fix all those loose cabinet doors in your kitchen? That one squeaky board in the dining room floor? That annoying leaky window in the bathroom? The cracks in the entryway tile?
No, all you know is the amazing homes they can build, and that you probably won’t ever build a home like that (and if you do, it wouldn’t be with someone you met through a cold call.)
That is the result of most capabilities presentations. Agencies look to WOW, and therefore the potential client can’t immediately see how they can benefit from a relationship. They think the agency is there if they need to build a house, and that the day-to-day needs they face are not what the agency can provide.
Instead of asking to make a capabilities presentation, we like to offer a NEEDS ASSESSMENT, a discussion of the potential client’s business so we can learn more about what their real, NOW needs, challenges, and goals are. We can then come back with solutions they may not have thought of for a challenge they currently face; no longer leaving it to the client to draw the lines from the best of our work to the work they may actually need done. We provide real solutions to better serve their needs, helping solve a problem they currently face.
Of course, that’s the start of the relationship. It is then up to us to deliver the goods and build that relationship into a lasting, mutually beneficial one.
But when we’ve made them so successful that they DO want to build that 5 bedroom, 7 bath house, you know exactly who they will be calling.