Why Change, Change to What, Change to Who? …and in That Order

When was the last time you painted the inside of your house or apartment? OK, maybe you never did or you got someone else to do it. If you are a homeowner then you have been confronted with this challenge at least once and most likely several times. Go back to that decision time moment; when it came to choosing the paint and who should be doing the job, what did you decide? And how did you come to that conclusion? Maybe you chose for average-quality paint because a new coat of paint was good enough to maintain the value of your house and was a fit for your budget. Or you chose the more expensive higher-quality paint because your objective was to increase the value of your house. Your decision was related to why and what you were trying to achieve. When it came to choosing who was going to do the job, either cheap labor or a more professional firm you again were guided by the same questions.

The reason why you wanted to paint the walls of your house, and what were you trying to achieve, was crucial for your next decision steps, which was what quality paint and who will do the job.

When purchasing products and services the decision process of what and who always starts with “why?” Why does something need to change? Sometimes we answer this question in a split second, on other occasions, you take more time for that.

It’s no different to what your prospect is going through when they review the performance of their business and are looking for solutions to improve their situation. OK, it’s a little bit more complicated, but, the crucial question is: Why are they even looking for improvements? What has triggered this search? Did their main competitor initiate something they did not expect and is impacting their customer loyalty? Or, has the company been selling fewer products impacting their revenue income, their bottom line, and profit forecast? The latter may have been the reason for senior management to decide they need to cut cost throughout the organization to bring the cost per unit down and by doing so increase their product competitiveness.

Improving business results may come from a totally different angle. Eg. The marketing team came with solid proposals for the company to look rather into revenue growth by expanding its focus into new markets and international trade lanes. Although this would require investments the return would achieve similar results.

What does this have to do with selling? Well, everything. Successful sales execs find out why prospects (and current customers on their books) are looking for certain improvements so they can think with their contacts in finding solutions. Find out what the potential customer is trying to achieve and why.

Is it reducing cost, increasing customer loyalty, is their focus on driving more income, more products, expanding into new markets? What has caused them to focus on that?

  • What has changed in their industry that may be challenging them or providing them with opportunities? Have you seen similar situations with your existing customers? And did they find great solutions addressing the challenges?
  • Review the prospects you have won over this year, what were the factors that influenced their decision to do something different—and with you as their new partner?

Your prospect would be pleased to hear your insights. With your insights, related to what they are trying to achieve, does the prospect now see their situation and challenges from a different perspective?  Now you understand what your prospect is trying to achieve and why they may with your insights not stay with the current competitor or choose for a lower priced supplier but instead for your solution and the quality you offer.

The reality is no prospect would tell you immediately what they are trying to achieve and why. It’s up to you to find out. Once you understand this better you can bring insights to the table shining new perspectives on the situation and related challenges. Now you can become the trigger why your prospect needs to change.

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