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Often I am told, "Doing that would make me feel uncomfortable.” OK, I understand, but it’s time to break out of your comfort zone!

I am certainly not professing to be combative nor to foster confrontation, but to be relevant in today’s changing and competitive selling arena, a new approach is warranted. Initially a bit uncomfortable, maybe, but…

Change is never change when it is the logical next step

To constantly adapt to a changing environment, we must break with tradition and get comfortable with a refreshed approach to customer interactions. Developing new skills and traits are critical for our individual success and for the pertinent value our customers expect. This comes down to personal development and continued learning.

So, what prompted me to write this blog? During a recent strategic account executive workshop, I shared the following discovery questions to be asked:

  1. Were you part of the last purchasing decision? Can you take me through the process?

  2. What are the top 2-3 key performance indicators that define success in your role?

  3. If you could wave a magic wand and make any challenge go away, what would it be and why?

  4. What would you say are the top 1-2 opportunities to improve your internal KPIs?

Following some discussion, I requested feedback from the group. Here are some of the comments:

  • “Those are tough questions.”

  • “I don’t know. These questions seem a bit invasive.”

  • “My customers don’t want me to be so confrontational.”

  • “I would be very UNCOMFORTABLE asking these types of questions.

Uncomfortable, really? Like me, you might be scratching your head or surprised by these reactions to very good, inquisitive, professional questions. After further discussion, the real challenge is more of an unaccustomed or different approach to a consultative customer engagement. I guess we could ask, “What do you think about this crazy weather?” Or, “How’s your day going?” No discomfort here AND no value to you or the customer.

Consultative selling is about solving problems. Asking carefully crafted questions that uncover customers concerns and business objectives is exactly what is required to uncover and begin the process to solve those problems.

Personal development includes being open to accepting new ideas and learning something as simple as what is noted in this brief blog. At Butler Street, we work with clients to help them develop and expand relationships, by asking the right questions to the right people at the right time. It’s not at all about comfort, it’s about improving our value to our customers and positioning ourselves to extend relationships resulting in profitable revenue growth. Let’s talk about it.

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