The traditional 20-question approach to prospecting is dead.
First, it’s undifferentiated. Everyone can ask the same questions.
Second, it’s frustrating for the prospect. Executives are too busy to play along. Why do they have to answer your questions before you’ve given them a good reason to give you that information?
You have a new messaging challenge in today’s skittish marketplace. It’s no longer about prospecting questionnaires. It’s about effective deal creation.
I didn’t know I had a music problem.
One of the smartest consultants in our company explains it this way:
A few years back, if a salesperson selling iPods asked me an open-ended prospecting question like: “Do you have a music problem?” I would’ve answered, “Not that I know of… I mean, I’ve got CDs and this awesome five-disk CD changer… I’ve also got this CD walkman that gives me that high quality CD sound when I work out… it’s all good.”
Then the iPod salesperson follows up with, “How satisfied are you with the way this works for you?” Again, I would have said, “As far as I know, it works as well as any other CD changer or walkman.” Maybe I’d be looking for a 10-disk changer or something like that, but frankly, at this point, I don’t know I have a music problem. I’m comfortable with the status quo. No need to do anything different…no need to buy anything from you.
Now, listen to how the discussion changes when you employ a deal creation dialogue method:
- How often do you pay for CDs, but end up only liking one or two songs? What if you never had to pay for songs you don’t like ever again? What if, instead, you could listen to all the songs from an album ahead of time, and create a library of music by buying just those songs you wanted to have? Then, you could use the money you saved to buy more of the songs and artists you like.
- How easy is it for you to take your favorite CDs with you wherever you go, in your house or apartment, at school, in the car, or while exercising? Ever feel like that walkman is too bulky for a rigorous workout? Imagine if you could carry a library of thousands of your favorite songs on a gadget smaller than a credit card… a gadget that fits easily inside your pocket, and that plays perfectly in every setting, including your most intense exercise routines?
- Imagine if you could play just certain types of songs at certain times, like if you are entertaining people, or you are reading or studying, or working out, or simply relaxing? What if you could create specialized playlists from your library of songs that enable you to essentially create your own albums for these different occasions, activities and moments of your life? And what if they were available at the press of a button on this same credit card-sized gadget?
Do you hear the difference between these dialogues? Now, I know I have a music problem. My current solution is sub-optimal because these are real pains that I’ve ignored or assumed were just part of what I had to deal with.
Deal Creation is Insight-Dripping Questions
Deal Creation is about asking insight-dripping questions that make the prospect realize they are actually in more pain than they knew… and that they are no longer in an acceptable position. And then, showing them that there is a significantly better way to do things available to them. All the while making sure they envision themselves in a better scenario, as opposed to you putting your solution at the forefront.
Deal Creation dialogues lead them TO your solution, not WITH your solution. But, it is a much more directed and purposeful dialogue than the open-ended, who-knows-where-it-will-land discussion that is today’s 20-question prospecting checklist.
Check out this quick, 16-minute, instant webinar to find out more about Deal Creation-messaging as a replacement for traditional Prospecting approaches. And, start putting more opportunities into your pipeline.
And if you’re interested in attending a live Deal Creation workshop, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for workshop schedules.
- Tim Riesterer
CMO and SVP Strategic Consulting and Products
Corporate Visions Inc.