Target The Core Group

Rummaging through old magazines, with a view to recycling and freeing up unnecessarily tied up space during a Bank Holiday weekend, a raft of Booz Allen Hamilton’s journals presented themselves. Always partial to a touch of strategic thinking, I was delighted when one article shed welcome light on a new way to me of how to think in terms of your buyer’s decision making process. It was called Core Group Therapy (by Art Kleiner) and a simple web search uncovered that the writer was also penning a book on the matter. As preparation he further provides a neat succinct summary of the “three fundamental concerns (or purposes) [that] drive most decisions”, termed Core Group Theory.

The fascinating research findings undoubtedly offer killer insight for solution salespeople. Think for a moment about how you approach a complex sale…

How do you go about untangling the web of relationships client-side?
How do you try and separate the emotional from the logical reasons for you holding sway?
How do you match the prospect emotion to an attribute you exhibit?

What Core Group Theory gives you is a framework for understanding why a decision takes place at a level that delves deeper than traditional buyer behaviour modelling for sales situations.

Of the trio of considerations that people make when coming to a decision, the latter two are that people:

ii) want to be a team member on projects seen as ‘creative’, and
iii) follow their subconscious sense of what the ‘right thing to do’ is.

Both impressive insights in themselves, but it’s the primary factor that really got my cogs a-whirring.

The summary linked to above covers it all quickly and ably, but to re-iterate, my enthusiasm for this thinking stems from seeking to influence the Core Group. Do so, and glory will be yours. Here’s a couple of further bits of précis:

Any organization is trying, at heart, to fulfil the perceived needs and wants of a Core Group of privileged people.

There’s group of people to which the rest of the organisation look up to, and want to make decisions that please them. It’s neither formal in structure nor controllable by Management, but has legitimacy through respect and recognition everywhere. Understand who’s in this Core Group, tap into what makes them tick and tailor your solution to serve their needs.

even a decision about which brand of paper clip to buy may contribute, in a tiny way, to the organization’s ultimate direction

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