It’s okay to ask your client the question, “What’s keeping you up at night?” It’s not the most powerful question you might ask. It assumes your client is concerned about something they don’t know how to resolve themselves.
Two things are generally true right now. First, if your client was worried about something to the point they can’t sleep, they’d be doing something about it. Second, you wouldn’t likely be the first salesperson to try to discover the source of their dissatisfaction in hopes of making a sale.
In this case, a statement is better than a question. That statement is this: “This is what should be keeping you up at night!”
Keeping You Up At Night
One of the most difficult challenges for sales people and sales organizations today is developing dormant dissatisfaction. It’s tough to move your dream client to the point that they are compelled to change. If they knew that the status quo were untenable and believed they could do something about it, then your prospective dream client would already be making changes, wouldn’t they?
If your prospects knew they needed to change and how to do it, you wouldn’t have a difficult time gaining an appointment. And you wouldn’t have a difficult time creating a new opportunity. But these things are difficult to do, especially in a complex, business-to-business setting.
If you want your client to be compelled to act, discover what should already be compelling.
- What are the trends that are going to have the biggest impact on your dream client’s business in the next couple of years?
- What are the challenges they are almost certain to face? What are the root causes of those challenges, and how should your clients be addressing those challenges now?
- What are the opportunities that your dream clients are going to use to create new opportunities that your prospects could benefit from were they to act?
These are the things that should be keeping your prospective clients up at night. If you wait for them to discover these things for themselves, you may allow them to be harmed by their lack of insight or inaction. This makes you reactive. If you get in front of these issues and trends and help your clients do something about them, you are proactive. Your choice here defines you as a salesperson, or as a strategic partner, trusted advisor, consultative salesperson, or consigliere.