as ~ múd ~ in your ~ i (you'll be flying blind)

I enjoy the TV series “Criminal Minds” because the main occupation, apart from catching the bad guys,” is to profile the Unknown Subject, commonly referred to as the un-sub! Much like one of the most important jobs of a marketeer or salesperson. You should know your customers and your suspects to the same depth of detail and granularity – maybe even better than you know a family member!

The better understanding of your “subject” or in our terminology the “suspect,” the better chance of understanding their buying characteristics and their reliability as a partner in your quest to;

  • leave lasting perceived value and,
  • generate life giving profitable revenue.

In our experience, trying to find a tool to define these unknown suspects is an exercise in frustration. Here’s the thing, if there was such a tool then it would be patented and we would all use it to take the art out of marketing & selling and make it a scientific process which is more forecastable. We have tried everything, blood analysis, writing analysis, voice stress analysis, psychometric analysis, urine analysis, you name it we have tried it.

“profile analysis of your prospect is a waste of time”

Whether an outgoing introvert (just joking) or any other kind of puppy, they will say NO, just as easily, unless they perceive you have compelling influence. That the deal is good for them, will make more profit or deflect some costs, or fix a known problem. There are basically two types of sales – GAIN deals where there is a multiple of the money spent that will return to the spender; e.g. less cost or more revenue, or, a PAIN deal where I have a obvious wound and I need immediate help in stopping the advance of gangrene! PAIN deals close fast as the suspect will “scare up” the money from somewhere to get off the burning platform. Because GAIN deals are so political, requiring "buy in" from a diverse buying centre, they can drag on and on until you have convinced; “everyone who can have a +ve -ve influence on the outcome”

Don’t bother with a psycological profile of your customer, of course (I generalise), if you’ve ever fished you’ll know that you can’t land a trout with the same tackle and “strike method” as those used for a shark. However, the important thing is to know the Buying Centre. Like M.A.N.E.A.C.T.S helps in qualification, A.S.M.Ú.D.I, (not) another acronym, helps you internalise and remember how to “find” that un-sub. This requires the art of rapport & incisive questioning. You need to build these wings in the privacy of a workshop rather than in front of the prospect – as you jump off the cliff.

  • A-assessor (may also be the Authority figure) that makes a pro’s and con’s list of the competing vendors,
  • S-signing power to create a legally binding contract between us,
  • M-the person that can commit the money to our project (note NOT the budget owner),
  • Ú-user of the product (often overlooked) in a command and control company has “little” influence,
  • D-decision maker the persona that says – OK, lets get it on!
  • I-influencer (of others) and can be internal or external (like a consultant) to the target suspect.

Almost everyone on that list, can display the characteristics of another, and it is possible that one person will morph to every one of these personas during the course of the marketing/sale project (especially in a small organisation). The trick is to speak to the persona in the words they use when in that role; example; you don’t speak “feeds-and-speeds” of your product to the Money Owner but rather Return on Investment or risk assessment etc. The greater the “un-known” outcome of the project to the prospect, (here, let me fix your wound with this plaster – very known) the greater the influence of the personas in the Buying Group and the more important it is to know them like a brother!


If your marketeer or salesperson can’t name (all of) them in your target prospect, then the chances of landing a GAIN project are virtually nil!

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Peter French

Business Coaching is not consulting, it's also not therapy. It's a unique profession that lives somewhere in between these two poles - structured to leave lasting life and business value!

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