by Alexander Low | @Alexander_Low
So what. No one cares. I mean really no one cares; apart from the PR team as they have something to write about. And the team who all pat each other on the back.
No one ever bought a service or product in the b2b market just because it was number 1 or the team were number 1. Ever.
“Tell you what, we have a major problem we need to solve. Let’s just look at league tables and only choose the #1 in that list and ignore everyone else” sound plausible? Didn’t think so.
I have compiled these lists myself at the behest of my stakeholders in the past, trust me, you can game them to make it look like you are at the top. Or “sponsor” them.
So why do we still see the corporate machine lauding self-congratulatory praise about how pleased they are to be ranked #1 for something. Me too!
So what, is what the reader thinks to themselves. I worked with a Partner at PwC, Sean Williams, who was brilliant at this. We would sit in pitch rehearsals and he would be like a belligerent 5-year-old. One of his peers would start with an opening statement such as “we are the number 1 global team for blah” or “I have been an accountant for blah blah years” – you get the idea. He would sit there and say, “So what”, usually interrupting their flow. They would get flustered, annoyed, even irate at times. “The Client would never ask that in a pitch!” Sean’s response, “no, but they will be thinking it”. Debate would ensue.
Sean wasn’t being difficult for the sake of it, or even disagreeing with the statement being made. It may be entirely relevant to the pitch, however so very few people back it up with why. It would be back and forth until it was agreed the statement had no relevance, or, can it be said another way which is client focussed and not me too.
“We are recognised as being a leader in your market by virtue of the fact we have been appointed on the most deals, transactions, matters. This experience gives us more insight than anyone else in the market, which we will bring to bear, ensuring you have a successful outcome, on time and on budget.” Or something to this effect.
You can share with them the league table as a supporting document.
The same goes for your when you next share your league table news on social. Think about the audience and can it pass Sean’s “so what” test.
“We would like to thank all of our clients who continually choose us to support them on x work as recognised by x brand that is compiling the list. Thank you.”
Of course, it is better to be #1, #2 or even #3 – but that is all we ever hear about. It will of course help influence some more than others and will be a small part of the overall decision-making process, but please just think about what you are trying to say as part of the overall statement to the market before you ask your business to share it blindly – you may as well spam it in email. Which no-one opens, the same goes for this in the digital and social era.
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