An Introduction to Bob Potter and Third Level Selling

Strategic PartnerStrategic Partners engage clients at a deeper personal and professional level, a Third-Level that leads to greater success and career satisfaction and less price competition.

From the client’s perspective, top competitors pretty much look the same. On the other hand, clients feel that their situation, project, people, preferences, and process are unique. Most professionals who sell services try to force clients to recognize and value increasingly nuanced differences in their capabilities (I call this “vendor differentiation”).

Strategic Partners create client preference and loyalty by finding and aligning to what is unique about the client, the project, client preferences, and process (I call this “client differentiation”), and then marshalling the resources of their company to implement a completely unique solution that helps their client win.

How Clients ChooseClient Decision Funnel

When clients have a choice among service providers, they differentiate their universe of alternatives using the following questions and levels:

  1. Can you do it? If so, you are a Level 1: a Qualified Provider. In my experience 80% of service providers fall into this category. They can tell you what they do but not effective at communicating that they are better than their competitors.
  2. Can you do it better than most? If so, you are Level 2:  a Preferred Provider. Preferred providers are usually very experienced and technically accomplished. They can clearly communicate how they are different and better than competitors, and they represent about 15% of service providers
  3. Will you/ do you take care of me? If so, you are Level 3: a Strategic Partner. Strategic Partners are not only technically superior, their distinction is that they are motivated to utilize all of their resources to help their clients win. By doing so they not only win more, but they create delighted clients who actually sell for them. Their clients give them all of their follow on business and actively advocate for them in the market place. Their clients become their surrogate sales force.

Clients want to work with someone they know and trust, someone who knows their industry, their market, their company, their situation, their project, their preferences, and their process better. In other words, instead of wanting to know more about you, they want you to know more and care more about them. They don’t want to work with a provider. They want to work with a Strategic Partner. If you can find and align to that uniqueness, the client will view you as a Strategic Partner and not just another vendor.