5 Mins Read

Position The Blueprint, Not Your Product

Brandon Fluharty  |

Brandon Fluharty |

⚡️ Today’s level up ⚡️

Today’s (short and sweet) edition focuses on elevating yourself from competing for business to creating demand for your business—a subtle but powerful move that adds an extra digit to your W2 at the end of the year.

Let’s go!

Read time: <5 minutes

If you missed last week, read it here.


A common problem most sellers face

“From early in life, we’re taught to compete in a pre-existing game of comparison designed by someone else.” – The Category Pirates

A recurring problem I’ve observed in my one-on-one coaching sessions is that too many sellers fight for demand rather than creating it.

No, I’m not talking about creating your own pipeline (although that’s very useful). I’m referring to your ability to “position the blueprint versus your product.”

Let me provide bad, better, and best examples to illustrate how this works.

Go from bad to better to being the best

Bad (Most Common): A seller leads by describing how “great” their product is compared to the competition.

“Our conversational intelligence platform is 35% more accurate than the competition, which we’ve found to improve overall win rates for sales teams by 15 points.”

The problem with this approach is that it invites more competition—both direct and non-direct—where differentiation comes down to competing on features and price. This limits the strategic scope and need for higher-level executives to participate in the evaluation process.

This would require over-indexing on maintaining a huge, if not untenable, pipeline. It would also require a lot of strong relationships that are “greased” to sway buyers in your favor (like needing to rely on fancy steak dinners, box seat tickets to big events, and relying on partner recommendations).

Maybe you could achieve a 10-20% win rate using this strategy. But, you’d likely be put on the chopping block during a RIF (reduction-in-force) before you could even come close to achieving your number. Plus, you’d develop no high-leverage skills to future-proof your career by selling this way.

Better (Common): A seller leads with a lengthy discovery process to unearth the customer’s problems and presents a compelling business case for solving those problems.

“After numerous conversations with your sales leaders, it appears 90% of your sales deals are falling in the third month of each quarter, adding unpredictability and unnecessary pressure from the board on your leadership team. We’ve helped a company of a similar size shift to 60% of their deals closing in month one. Here’s what the impact of a similar shift would mean for your business…”

This would require fighting for attention and trust early on, especially with net new business, in order to complete the necessary discovery to find solvable problems. Generally, at best, you can find one use case to solve for. That leads to the double whammy of a long sales cycle and a smaller deal.

This is the classic land-and-expand model most enterprise (and even strategic account) teams pursue. The pressure from the top of your company is too high to go any deeper, and by the time an opportunity does present itself, the seller must “just get it done” before moving on to the next one and hoping they can make their number during the expansion.

Using this strategy, you might achieve a 30 – 50% win rate, but it will put a lot of pressure on you from an activity perspective.

Best (Rare): A seller leads with a “blueprint for transformation” by delivering a provocative point of view designed for the boardroom.

“This is the modern-day CRM. We actually don’t see our competition as other tools or platforms that try to do Conversational Intelligence, AI-based Coaching, and Insights. We see the real disruption as eliminating the hundreds of millions of dollars organizations waste on Salesforce. The fact that CRMs still exist today and require sellers to manually input their data, which dictates how an organization predicts their value, is insanity to our most innovative customers.”

This is known in Category Design as “Daming the demand.” It shifts the thinking and conversation from “You think you want that, but you really need this.” According to research by The Category Pirates, the experts on Category Design, this is why that matters:

Using this strategy, a seller moves into a 60 – 80% win rate, while shortening sales cycles and increasing deal sizes. That was my exact experience when I ditched positioning our product and led with the transformation blueprint while at LivePerson.

In my case, I wasn’t selling Conversational AI (the product), I was positioning the opportunity to become a conversational contact center or an intent-driven business (the category) with the right leaders (the Mobilizer).

All of this together was damming the demand. The leverage moved completely in my favor. Shorter sales cycles, bigger deals, and less hustle to maintain a huge pipeline. My work was calm, focused, and with really innovative leaders and brands (which was exciting). It all felt like a fun game.

This is the rare space I encourage you to elevate to in your sales career.

You may also enjoy reading: This Move Helped Me Earn $3.8M In 4 Years As A Strategic SaaS Seller

That’s a wrap. See you next week!



Here’s how I can help you right now:

1 | Unlock the 7 Figure Seller OS

Learn how to use design and systems thinking to become a 7 figure seller. There are 3 options to allow you to customize your learning journey.

2 | Download The 7 Figure Open Letter

Get the creative strategic selling strategy that landed a $5.9M deal with a top 4 major global airline. Bonus inside!

3 | Book a 1:1 coaching session right now

You can book a 60-minute coaching session with me (although the Pro above option provides access to 1:1 coaching with me at a 70% discount.

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