In the 1936 Buster Keaton classic, The Consultant, Mr. Reginald pauses dramatically, a sudden glimmer of understanding ghosting across his face before he turns back to the prospect and delivers the line that many say won Keaton the Oscar: “Isn’t it possible you’re the problem, Slade?”
Seriously, turning the tables with a pointed probe can play an important role in your business-building routine. As consultants we’re walking, talking, perpetual inquisition machines. Our genetic makeup seems to be a strand of diagnostic curiosity inextricably entwined with SPIN-selling power questions.
And rightly so. Posing insightful queries is a necessary trait during the diagnostic and solution phases of a project. Plus, best-practice approaches to winning consulting engagements, including the Context Discussion, rest on a series of artfully designed inquiries.
Most of our questions are designed to demonstrate our perspicacity and expose the client’s need for our intervention. However, turning the tables on ourselves by openly challenging our role is a surprisingly effective technique during the selling process.
Unfortunately, these questions scare the pants off most consultants because they appear to undermine your likelihood to win the gig. Take a leap of faith. Each of the suggestions below puts you in the client’s seat, voicing their unspoken concerns.
They elicit a remarkable response: 95% percent of the time, your prospect will start selling you on why they require your services. And with that script, you’ll ride off into the sunset with a signed deal in hand.
Text and images are © 2020 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.