New Product Blueprinting
Front-end innovation for B2B organic growth

World Views


Cultural Awareness Boosts Blueprinting Success, part 2

If you are interviewing in Asia, who is the hardest person to convince it’s a good idea to use a digital projector? The customer you wish to interview? Nope. It’s probably your own sales professionals. And this is completely understandable. Customer relationships are important to sales pros all around the world, and this is especially true in Asia. And while Blueprinting practices are “different” everywhere, they tend to be “more different” in Asia. Partly this is because “consultative selling” has not been as extensively practiced here.

Not every great Blueprinting interview requires a digital projector… although this helps. But there’s more to consider: The purpose of the meeting should be learning… not selling. The focus should be the customers’ needs, not our solutions. Done well, it’s a completely different meeting than most customers are familiar with… and many sales professionals as well. Here are some tips for increasing the confidence of your colleagues who may not have attended a Blueprinting workshop:

  1. Ask your sales colleagues to review this entire website before setting up an interview. It contains a 34-minute video showing the key parts of a Discovery interview. And there’s much more, including a downloadable PowerPoint presentation they can use to explain Discovery interviews.
  2. Role-play a Discovery Interview: Practice a Discovery interview—either face-to-face or via web-conference—allowing your sales colleague to experience the role of the customer.
  3. Start small: Conduct your initial Discovery interviews with smaller, “friendly” customers, so this doesn’t seem as risky. Explain to the account that you’re trying to do a better job of listening to them, and ask them for feedback.
  4. Request a 10-minute “trial”: Before turning on the projector, ask the customer if you can try recording your notes with a digital projector for 10 minutes. Tell them that if they don’t think it helps, you’ll be glad to turn it off.
  5. Consider 1-day training: Many of our clients schedule a 1-day training course, just for sales professionals that didn’t attend the full training. This includes extensive role-playing and is a strong confidence-booster.

Don’t worry if your first Discovery interviews are not completely “by the book.” Little by little, add in the methods and practices you learned at the workshop (and e-learning), and both you and your sales colleagues will be amazing customers soon enough.

Read part 1 of this article, originally published in the Take AIM Newsletter.