Ask What Changed

Sometimes the sales process suddenly speeds up or slows down. A project that was dormant suddenly springs to life. Or, one that was moving along briskly suddenly comes to a screeching halt. When that happens (especially in the case when it speeds up) you should ask the prospect “what changed?”. The reason you ask is that things happen for a reason. And it is important that you know that reason. It might be the prospect got a visit from the EPA regulators and now they are under a deadline to remedy a situation. It could be that they were focused on a competitor and the competitor has slipped up for some reason and are now out of the running. In either of these cases the answer to the question will give you insight into the urgency of the situation, the pain of the prospect and the decision process of the prospect. It is also possible that nothing changed but in my experience that is rarely the case. Don’t be so excited by the project springing to life that you forget to ask what prompted the sudden change. If you do, you will miss a golden opportunity to get an advantage over the competition or some leverage in the negotiations to come.

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