Do you want to convert more of the conversations you are already having to paying clients?
i.e Getting more from the same effort.
Getting More Client Conversions From More Conversations
If you've been in b2b sales or client getting for your business, you've probably come across the 'Consultative Sales Model' or even SPIN questioning frameworks.
You are almost certainly following a similar framework in your business.
The scenario goes like this on a sales or discovery call
+ You ask questions to discover their current unhappy state - A
+ You ask questions to uncover their current desired end state - B
+ You seek to position yourself as the bridge between points A and B
IDENTIFYING ROADBLOCKS AND WIDENING GAPS
Traditionally, the way you go about building a bridge between point A and point B is by looking at specific areas with questions such as:
- What have they tried before that has failed - and why?
- The cost of inaction - to establish reasons big enough to break them out of the inertia of sticking with the status quo
- The opportunity cost of inaction - to establish reasons big enough to break them out of the inertia of sticking with the status quo
- The risk to them personally if the current situation continues
Every one of those rocks you toss into the cavern is effectively making the need for the bridge between point A and B more vivid, real and urgent.
But there's more...
WIDENING THE GAP
The same process is also described as widening the gap.
What your brilliant questioning process is doing is widening the gap between their initial point A and B to the new point A and B.
You are effectively widening the distance of the gap. I didn't represent it in my expensively created artists impression above as well as I could.
What we are really doing is creating a new point C rather than widening the current gap between A and B.
Part of the reason we widen the gap is to remove any possible idea from a prospect's mind that they can take a leap of faith and jump from A to B by themselves—without you.
THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS APPROACH
I've been running sales meetings like this for 20+ years. It's effective.
It's also non-manipulative if you truly believe that your service can benefit the client and that by either:
1) taking no action (status quo) or
2) attempting a solution on their own they will be in a worse position than if you acted as the bridge to their desired end result.
But in today's digital-first economy, there are challenges with this approach:
- Time: I remember sitting in board rooms running this process for 45 minutes before I ever talked about us, our solution or our pricing. Very often the solution overview was a minute or two as the questioning process effectively proved we knew what we were doing. Today it's rare that you'll get anywhere near as long before people want to know about your solution.
- 1 Way: Very often this traditional process was a 1-way dialogue for 45 minutes with the prospect giving answers and the switch happening toward the end where the seller stopped, recapped and offered the solution. My clients and I find that this just isn't working right now. People have shorter attention spans and want a 2-way dialogue with you constantly during the conversation.
ENTER THE 'MINI BRIDGE JOURNEY'
Forgive me but I'm still working on a catchy name for my new model!
What my clients and I have found works really well is to reposition the conversation away from 1 big widening-the-gap session to a journey of small bridges.
Just like before, it is your job to identify the current reality (point A) and desired end state (point B).
But the key difference is to now see it as a journey that has many small canyons along the way. Your route to success is by building small bridges constantly along the journey that closes those canyons.
To do this effectively, you have to have a 2-way dialogue that is like the back and forth of a tennis game. As the prospect opens up to you, shares their stories and gives freely of their information, so must you.
There are many ways to do this and here's 2 starting points for you:
1) Quickly drop sparkling key messages to 'sell' small end results
When your prospect tells you something that has been a frustration and you have questioned it you can respond with something like:
"Steve, I hear you and empathise. We hear that a lot. You aren't alone. That's EXACTLY why we built in a condensed on-ramp experience to get projects started on 1/10th of the industry standard and to give you best practice as a starting point instead of asking you a whole load of questions you don't know how to answer. This alone typically shaves 20 weeks off a program timeline. Now tell me, what led to the last project overrunning"
In the above example, you've created a mini bridge to answer one of their challenges and concerns. And when you've done it you've carried on with the questioning process intentionally. When done properly you've created a mini bridge and maintained the momentum of the sales call.
2) Share stories
In your questioning process, you should be eliciting stories. Your questions such as:
"Now tell me, what led to the last project overrunning"
are there to get the stories behind the facts of the situation. As your prospect shares these with you it makes sense to share your own stories back.
- Your personal story of why you do what you do
- Client stories of how they overcame similar situations
- Company and/or personal stories of how you made similar mistakes and it turned out well or the lessons you learned
- Stories of prospects that said No and stayed with the status quo and the way that worked out for them
When you reposition your client conversations to a journey, with multiple bridges to close you'll get better buy-in, give better clarity on the results you'll create and convert more of them to revenue.
Want to learn more from me? Here's a few options:
🎣 Get Consulting Clients: The Ultimate Course On How To Win Consulting Clients Quickly
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