Dig To Uncover Benefits For the Other Party
In my role as a technology scout, I often prospect technology providers who aren't looking to be challenge "solvers". These individuals are focused on trying to build their own companies and could care less about what my clients may want or need. Therefore, a large part of my job is to work to create an appealing vision for how the other party can benefit from doing business with my client(s)...with benefit being defined by the other party.
Why do this? Because "what's in it for them" is the most important thing to them, that's why.
As an example, several months ago I contacted a small business owner whose technology seemed relevant for one of my consumer products company clients. In speaking with him, I learned that his efforts were being directed to develop commercial rather than consumer applications for his technology. While he didn't want to dismiss altogether the possibility of working with my client, he was clear that it would have to take a back seat to seemingly more direct paths for him to see revenue, which was presently in short supply.
I followed up with him recently to learn of his progress. He indicated that his work was progressing promisingly but slowly due to financial constraints. He politely dismissed me by indicating that he would keep me advised as his situation changed. If I had simply accepted his status update without seeking to explore further, I wouldn't have learned something that promises to be HUGE. He mentioned to me in a phone conversation that he has demonstrated that his technology can significantly enhance brewed coffee flavor in commercial (food service) applications. He shared with me credible technical evidence to support his assertions. In response, I suggested to him that my client could potentially help him to translate this technology into a compelling and attractive consumer product business opportunity. If managed as a strategic partnership, a negotiation could potentially yield the resources he requires to enable him to complete his work and pursue his commercial market initiative. He is excited about this, and we are moving rapidly to share this intriguing opportunity with my client.
I suggest that each of us seek to create new opportunities to satisfy our needs by working with our external business partners to identify ways to deliver what's important to them. Why not give this approach a try, if it isn't already part of your repertoire?