Recently while working with a team of 8 sales leaders, they were discussing the amount of business being lost to the competition. They got very stuck in coming up with a solution – and lowering prices was not an option.
Does this every happen to you? If so, how to do you get unstuck?
Before I give you a tip on how to get unstuck, let me show you something.
When you consult with your customers there are four kinds of questions to guide your conversation:
• Before State
• After State
Before State Questions are about their current situation. The facts, what’s working, what’s not, who does what, when, where, how, process, people, resources, etc.
After State Questions find out where they would prefer to be… their ideal tomorrow.
Whatever is important and is missing from their current situation.
Reward and Risk describe the impact of the upsides and downsides to take action to change. These questions let you know how important it is to the customer to change and the barriers in the way to go for the After State.
The VP of Sales was moderating a discussion with the 8 sales managers that were stuck about the competition eating their lunch.
He began with the Before State and moved to the After State. Now that he had a clear description of the After State, he began offering solutions.
The sales managers shot each and every one of them down.
I experienced an ‘ah ha’ moment. These managers were hanging out in status quo.
Although they weren’t pleased with the current situation, they were digging their heels in at adopting any changes to shift the momentum and business back to them and gain their preferred after state.
When there was a lull in the conversation, I asked the Risk Question.
What happened next?
The conversation changed dramatically from whatever was going on with fear or unwillingness to change or any ego entrenchment to problem solving because the Risk answer was too severe for anyone.
If your sales reps are losing to the competition – they may be losing to their own status quo. They may be stuck in fear of the unknown or change.
Ask these questions and your reps will out-think, out-perform and out-sell the competition:
Where are we?
Where do we want to be?
What’s the upside of getting there?
What’s the downside of staying the same?
What are we going to do?