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7 Mistakes to Watch For When Selling Strategy

Strategy. You know you need to be selling it, but maybe your offer isn’t right, you’re having a hard time selling it or you literally don’t know where to start. In this episode, we’re digging into seven mistakes to watch for when selling strategy with a lot of actionable takeaways for you.

Before we get into today’s episode, I want to send out a huge thanks for the level of enthusiasm people have had for Sell the Strategy. I’ve always known the power of selling strategy but calling it out this specifically has unlocked something for a lot of you. This means we’re going to keep talking about it.

Sell the Strategy, and talking strategy is here to stay because it’s really the missing piece for so many of you in your service business.

In today’s episode, I want to dive into common strategy mistakes and believe me, I’ve probably made all of them, so this isn’t to make you feel bad, but rather to help you spot opportunities for how you can sell strategy effectively in your business.

#1. Confusing Strategy with Tactics

Most of us didn’t go to business school, so we learned the thing while doing it, so we’re not always clear on what the strategy is, and what the tactics are.

Plus, you’re so used to doing all of it that you’re not sure where one starts and the other stops. This is compounded by the fact that in the online business world (in my experience at least) there’s not a solid understanding of the difference between strategy and tactics.

Celebrity entrepreneurs conflate the two, and charge big money for very tactical work and call it strategy.

No wonder we’re confused!

An easy way to help you keep the two in clear buckets:

Strategy work is transformational.
It’s required for our clients to hit a goal and without a strategy, there will not be any actual transformation. There’s no before/after as you’re executing tactics without direction.

Tactical work is transactional.
Tactical work is about activities to support the strategy. It can be more transactional in nature as the strategic work should already be in place.

When you’re able to clearly discern between the two it gets much easier for you to ensure that you’re getting paid for strategy work.

#2. You’re Hiding Your Strategy in the Tactics

This is probably one of the most common mistakes I see, as most consultants, creatives, and agency owners are doing strategic work. They’re just hiding it in their process, and not calling it out for what it is.

If you want to get paid for it, you need to stop burying your strategy amid the tactics. You need to claim strategy so that people understand that you’re not just an order taker, but bringing tremendous value when you work with them.

Part of this comes down to the structure of your strategy offer, and the other part comes down to positioning. You need to be able to position your strategy offer as having distinct value beyond the tactics. 

#3. Your Clients Don’t Understand the Value

Most of you have been doing strategy work all along, but for whatever reason, you may not be selling it as a strategy. Or you’re selling strategy and your clients don’t really get it.

Here’s the thing. For people to get it, your strategy offer has to solve an actual problem that your clients have, and they need to understand why that matters. It’s not enough to tell them that they need a strategy, you need to show them what happens when they don’t have one.

You need to answer the question: What’s the value of strategy?

This isn’t about poking pain points but educating your clients as to the ROI of investing in the strategy. What most people don’t realize is that having a strategy will actually save them money as they’re not wasting time making things up as they go. 

#4. Not Being the Expert

For you to sell strategy, you need to be seen as an expert. And I don’t mean in that fly-by-night BS online business kind of way, but as a true expert with a depth of knowledge and a proven track record doing what you do.

That’s why you shouldn’t ever be making up strategy offers based on something you just learned. Your strategy offers should be rooted in true subject matter expertise so you can consistently and clearly demonstrate to your potential clients why they should be working with you.

Positioning yourself as the expert starts with the messaging around your offer, and then you need to reinforce it heavily through your promotional plan.

I mean, there’s a reason you trust me to talk to you about strategy right? That comes down to how I’ve positioned and message myself, as well as my commitment to promoting myself as an expert on this topic for service business owners.

#5. Not Targeting the Right Clients

For a strategy offer to work, you need to have clients who understand the value and are willing to pay for it. Many a strategy offer has never gotten off the ground as it was designed without consideration of the target market.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter how amazing your offer is if your audience simply doesn’t want it or doesn’t get it. That’s why I strongly encourage my clients to take something they’re already doing and break that out as a strategy offer or to dig in and do some research before they dive into doing strategy.

If you have a strategy offer that doesn’t seem aligned, where would it be a better fit? Or how can you switch it up so that it’s a stronger fit with your audience?

Pay special attention to what potential clients are always asking you for, or what people may already consider you an expert in. Those are powerful clues about what may be the best strategy offer for you and your business.

#6. I’m Not Sure Clients Will Pay For It

Maybe you’re worried people won’t pay for your strategy offer, which is a valid concern as no one wants to put an offer out there that no one is going to buy. That’s why you need to take the time not to rush your offer out the door or simply throw something together.

Once you have a validated market need for your offer, you need to consider your pricing strategy. It’s far better to price it in a way that you know will sell in the start than be precious about it and not get the data you need to validate your direction.

Also, remember that because of the price point, selling strategy may take more time than you used to with selling tactical work. Expect that you need to do more education and that your sales cycle may be a little bit longer. 

#7. Your Strategy Doesn’t Have a Process

Truth bomb incoming. For people to be willing to pay for strategy, they need to know that they’re in good hands and that you know exactly what you’re doing.

That’s why every strategy offer needs a proven process backing it up. Even if you have a new offer, you should have a process that you’ve used in the past that you can use to share how the process works, what they can expect, and everything that’s involved.

Strategy offers can be vague, so the more tangible you can make them for your potential clients the better. Remember, people buy the process, so you need a simple, easy-to-understand way of sharing what strategy work with you really looks like.

What’s Your Next Step to Sell the Strategy?

When it comes to selling strategy for your business, it’s not a quick and easy fix, but once you nail it, it will be a consistent and reliable way for you to generate revenue. Plus, it will shift how your clients see you, and most of all, how you feel about the work you do.

If you’re new to selling strategy, take what we’ve talked about today and use this to help shape your offer. And if you’re already selling strategy, take some time to consider how you can improve on what you’re already doing.

And if you need help selling your strategy, a quick reminder that I can help. I’m booking Sell the Strategy intensives for a June 2022 start. Click here for the details.