Selling quality isn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Aside from having the advantage of working with an incredibly knowledgable team of QC professionals, I’ve discovered the most successful strategies are often also the simplest to employ.
Paul Borawski talks about selling quality in his most recent View from the Q post. He asks if there’s an “essential answer” in pitching top decision makers. This is an excellent discussion opportunity, and I’m looking forward to hearing from the other Influential Voices here.
My tried and true suggestions are as follows:
- Walk the walk -
Consider for a moment how quick we are to notice inconsistencies in people’s words vs their actions. “Walking the walk” establishes trustworthiness, which is a key contributor to our decision making process. We can’t expect people to buy into something we don’t back up with personal action. Consistency is also a key component here. We need to live and breathe quality. We need to be passionate about it
- It’s all about the benefits -
This is really the basis of any good marketing campaign. Rather than scaring people with the realities of poor quality, focus on the positive effects that come with doing it right. Talk about the improvements and back up the claim that “quality costs less, not more.” Increased profits, a happier and more productive workforce, brand loyal consumers and a positive public perception are just a few of the great things that happen when you support quality initiatives. Also, as key decision makers, it doesn’t hurt to point out the positive effects of being a steward of such fabulous benefits.
- Know your stuff -
The key decision makers I’ve talked quality with in the past have responded positively to my ability to back up claims of benefits or disputes to common misconceptions with facts, figures and/or case studies. Many times, resistance to quality is a faulty foundation of knowledge that has lead the individual(s) to believe ensuring quality is too complicated and not worth the effort. Of course we know that nothing could be further from the truth, but you’ll need more than your opinion to change someone’s mind.
- All the world’s a stage -
Paul also asks about cultural considerations when selling quality, and I’m not sure that’s how I would frame it. I think you have to consider your audience from a broader perspective and then adjust your strategy as necessary. I talk about quality differently depending on my audience. Personalizing the approach in this way establishes a relationship and keeps your key decision makers engaged in the discussion.
Raising the voice of quality can certainly be considered a way of “selling” quality. By contributing value adding content to the industry, we educate and inform key decision makers.