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The One Thing

by Hank Barnes  |  September 13, 2016  |  Submit a Comment

I can’t count the number of times that I talk to tech providers and they tell me, “When we get to meet with the customer and present our product, we win.  Our problem is getting the meeting.”    It almost feels like a default, required answer for every CEO.   There is a big problem with this.

First, it is not believable (I am not going to link to all the things I’ve written on trust, but if you want, feel free to do a quick search).

Second, it shows that you have not, in most cases, given people a reason to care enough to give you your time.

How do most people try to fight this?

They come up with long lists of “differentiators” (that aren’t) and that very few people, if anyone, can remember.

Rather than try to come up with the ala carte list of reasons to care.   I’d recommend something different.


Find the one thing that matters (you might call it a viewpoint).

Compare yourself to one alternative.

Give people one thing to remember.

One thing to get attention –it is probably all the time most people are willing to give you anyway.

Once you have that, then you have the opportunity to expand (we call it progressive engagement) and tell them all the other wonderful things about you.

But until you get the one thing, all the other things are irrelevant.

Not five.

Not three.

Not two.

Just one.

What is your one thing that matters most (in the context of the situation)?


Additional Resources

Category: go-to-market  

Tags: differentiation  marketing-strategy  messaging  

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
6+ years at Gartner
30+ years IT Industry

Hank Barnes explores the dynamics, challenges, and frustrations enterprises face when buying technology products and services. Using that customer-centric lens, he advises those responsible for marketing technology products and services, general managers responsible for product portfolios, and startup CEOs on next practices to drive success for their customers and their business. Read Full Bio

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