Imagine this. You’ve done your homework with the prospect to identify needs, which you’ve shared with your technical colleague. This moment has been a long time coming, and you’ve finally found the perfect time to introduce your gem of a prospect with your colleague. Introductions are made, handshakes or fist bumps exchanged, and you’re settling into a great conversation.
Then it happens. Your prospect’s eyes just rolled. And now the eyes are glazing over. Your colleague is going on and on. Your prospect just tuned out. All your preparation is for naught. What do you do?
Start talking about the client’s problems.
When professional business developers get caught in the technical colleague’s web of detailed weeds, they know that redirecting the conversation to focus on the prospect’s problem is the best way to spark interest and get the discussion back on track.
Here are eight sure-fire questions to revive even the most distracted prospect:
- What is the biggest challenge you’re facing right now?
- What are the top challenges you anticipate in the next five years?
- What is your biggest frustration with design or construction (or other professional services) firms?
- What is one problem that you want to avoid on this project?
- In all your years of experience, what has been the most difficult situation that you’ve overcome?
- What excites you most about this opportunity?
- How have consultants or contractors performed in the past?
- If you had one wish for this project, what would it be?
Sound negative to direct your prospect in this direction? It’s not. They are thinking about how they want the next project to be successful, which means identifying and addressing issues now so they don’t blow up and cause a crisis.
When you redirect the conversation to what your prospect is thinking, it gives you and your technical colleague great insights about how you will help the prospect in the proposal and/or interview. Talk about what’s important to your prospect, and they will leave the meeting feeling heard and impressed with you and your colleague.
What are other conversation tips you use to get wayward colleagues back on track?
Next time, we’ll discuss strategies to share your qualifications and capabilities.
Barbara Shuck, FSMPS, CPSM, is President, Everest Marketing Services, firstname.lastname@example.org, (m) 602.686.4616. Many business development professionals know that standing out from the competition is critical for business success. Barbara understands, and uses more than 25 years of experience and a toolbox full of communication strategies to help professionals win work so their firms flourish.