You look at your prospect’s current solution. It may not be very efficient or competitive, but it’s theirs. They invested in it. They understand it. And, some of the people you’ll be presenting to were probably responsible for creating it – or at least choosing it. Now what? You know it isn’t a great solution, but how do you tell them that?
For starters, don’t make this about their solution.
Yes, it’s an inadequate solution. It may even be one of those ridiculously bad, “what-were-they-thinking” solutions. But don’t assume the worst. Your prospect’s team probably made the best decision they could with the information they had. It might have even been the right decision at the time. So, don’t trash it. Instead, take the sales conversation in a completely different direction. It’s not about their solution. It’s about these four words ….
“The … world … has … changed.”
This is all you need to say: “The world has changed.” That’s it. “The world has changed” is the quickest way to reset corporate decision making. And it’s a surprisingly easy tool for sales and marketing teams to use:
- “You made the right decision at the time, but the world has changed.”
- “Yes, this was the leading technology last year, but the world has changed.”
- “Now that your competitor is doing X, the world has changed.”
- “This new shift in consumer behavior means that the world has changed.”
- “The current cost of X means that the world has changed.”
Instead of attacking your prospect’s current solution, you simply introduce new information that makes their solution obsolete.
Here’s how to make the most of this approach:
- Find the change (it’s always there somewhere) – This doesn’t have be earth-shatteringly big news. As you saw in the examples above, one small factor can be enough to shift your prospect’s playing field. It can be good news or bad – a new opportunity or a new risk. You simply need to identify something that renders your prospect’s current solution less competitive.
- Play out the consequences of inaction – Help your prospects think through the logical outcomes if they don’t act on this new information. Will they lose market share? Will their costs rise? Will their solution be the slowest? Will customers complain? Status quo is no longer an option. Why? Because the world has changed.
- Invite comparison – This may be a great time for your prospect to rethink the alternatives to your solution. Yes, your old competitors have some strong benefits to offer. But, what if their offerings don’t take into account the fact that – you guessed it – the world has changed?
- Encourage your prospects to steal your script – If your prospects need any kind of internal buy-in or approval to go with your recommendation, all they have to do is take your same script, knock on the boss’s door, and say, “I know our solution was working before, but I want to make you aware of how the world has changed since that original decision was made.”
Try it and see.
Instead of having to be the big critic and attacking your prospect’s current solution (and by extension, the people responsible for it), try out this gentler four-word approach. It can work both in sales conversations and in marketing communications. Then, let me know how it goes.