You’re about to engage in a sales conversation with a prospect, and they already have an existing solution or set of buying requirements in mind.
Recall the principle here to keep in mind is to avoid misalignment with the prospect by dismissing their initial thoughts. Rather, you want to earn the right to share your insight and perspective. You should approach the conversation to show them that you understand their vision before you challenge, change, or expand it. There are several steps to accomplish this and ensure an effective conversation.
Put Them First
First, you need to meet the prospect where they are with their vision. Remember, it’s important that you seek their perspective before providing your own.
You may ask them: “How do you see yourself using XYZ capabilities that you’re looking for, or what do you hope to accomplish by being able to?” Then you describe their current vision. After you get the prospect to share their view, you can explore the reasons why they need the capabilities behind their existing vision. Basically, you need to explore how their organization functions today without the existing capabilities desired. You may have an idea of the implications, but it’s useful to get their perspective first. You may also find it useful to ask exploratory questions of a financial nature that can help scope the negative impact of not having the existing capabilities.
Earn Your Right
Once you thoroughly understand their perspective, you’ve then earned the right to share your insight or experience. You can now begin to position new capabilities: “Would it be helpful if you also have the ability?” Then you describe a unique capability.
If the prospect seems interested in exploring it, you can again delve into the reasons that they might need the capability – explore how their organization functions today without it. Again, ask exploratory questions that might help establish a potential value for the newly introduced capability. Continue this approach of suggesting new capabilities and exploring ones of interest to the prospect, followed by uncovering the related reason and financial impact.
After a thorough diagnosis, you can then confirm the reasons for the potential capabilities needed and the financial impact uncovered. If the pain has not been admitted or implied, this is a time to get some confirmation around it: “With all the things we’ve discussed, what’s the effect on you and your business of doing it this way? In other words, what’s your pain?”
You conclude the conversation by confirming that if you could deliver the original capabilities needed, plus the new ones introduced, it would have a significant impact on addressing their admitted pain. It might sound something like this: “If you have the ability to do A, as well as B and C, could you then address your pain?”
These are the key steps and examples that will help you set up an effective conversation for re-engineering the prospect’s vision.