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You need IP!

By , February 7, 2024
intellectual property

In the ever-evolving landscape of business, the mantra of working ‘on’ your business, not ‘in’ it, has become a guiding principle for success. Nowhere is this more evident than in the areas of succession and exit planning, where businesses must transcend dependence on daily owner input. The key to this transition lies in systemisation – a structured approach ensuring consistency, repeatability, and reliability. But how does this principle apply to the dynamic and creative world of sales?

The Sales Conundrum

Traditionally, the perception of successful salespeople centers around innate creativity and quick thinking. Many argue that these qualities are inherent and cannot be developed. However, a paradigm shift challenges this notion and suggests an alternative approach that challenges the conventional wisdom surrounding the sales process.

The Power of Intellectual Property (IP) in Sales

In sales, trust is the linchpin, and IP is the key to building it. While many businesses rely on showcasing experience and expertise, the IP-driven approach emphasises the need for a clear, repeatable process that fosters trust faster. This is in stark contrast to the common ‘spray and pray’ method, where salespeople attempt to convince potential clients solely based on their skills and experience.

The Salesperson’s Dilemma

“We all love to buy but hate being sold to.”

A dilemma faced by both buyers and business owners – relying solely on the talent and experience of individual salespeople can lead to a cycle of dependency on hiring, motivating, and retaining top-quality professionals. The result? A struggle to grow the business due to challenges in acquiring or affording top-tier talent.

“You Need IP!”

The turning point comes when businesses recognise the need for Intellectual Property in their sales approach. Drawing a distinction between ‘KFC’ IP (a secret recipe protected by trademarks or patents) and ‘Subway’ IP (a standardised process or model), businesses can create a brand around their proven methodologies. This consistency not only ensures reliable client outcomes but also attracts new business, breaking free from dependence on individual talent.

The Transformational Impact of IP

Implementing IP in sales transforms the entire sales conversation. Instead of convincing clients based solely on individual skills and experience, businesses using IP focus on showcasing how their proven process can be adapted to solve the client’s unique problem. The conversation shifts from ‘selling’ to ‘helping clients buy,’ creating a more enjoyable and trust-building experience.

Building Credibility and Differentiation

The strategic use of IP positions a business as credible and reliable. Prospective clients find comfort in the knowledge that the business isn’t ‘winging it’ but rather relies on a carefully developed solution. This marks a departure from traditional sales pitches centered around key people, knowledge, and experience.

The Bottom Line

The adoption of IP in sales reshapes the sales process, shifting the focus from individual prowess to a proven process. By showcasing how this IP can be adapted to solve clients’ problems, businesses engage in meaningful conversations about applying the process in the client’s unique context. This not only demonstrates the business’s problem-solving capabilities but also establishes a reputation for reliability and consistency.

The integration of Intellectual Property in the sales process is a game-changer, offering businesses the opportunity to break free from the limitations of talent dependency. As businesses develop and consistently apply their unique processes, they become known for their methodologies, attracting clients for their IP rather than relying solely on individual talent. It’s time for businesses to recognise the power of IP in sales – a transformative force that unlocks new levels of success and prepares the ground for seamless succession and exit planning.

Darryl Bates-Brownsword

Darryl Bates-Brownsword

CEO | Succession Plus UK

Darryl is a dynamic, driven Business Mentor and Coach with over 20 years of experience and passion for creating successful outcomes for founder-led businesses. He is a great connector, team builder, problem solver, and inspirer – showing the way through complexity to simplicity.

He has built 2 international multi-million turnover businesses; one now operating in 16 countries. His quick and analytical approach cuts through to the core issues quickly and identifying the context. He challenges the status quo and gets consistent, repeatable and reliable business results.

Originating in Australia, Darryl’s first career was as an Engineer in the Power Industry. Building businesses bought him to the UK in 2003 where he quickly developed a reputation for combining systems thinking with great creativity to get results in challenging situations.

A keen competitive cyclist, he also has a B Eng (Mech) Engineering and an MBA.