In 2008 during the financial crisis, most companies laid off employees and restructured. This impacted all business sectors, with most of our customers and clients postponing investments and reducing chemical spending. During this period, it was pretty common to hear them say “no budget” or “cuts across the board” or even worse “, I’m no longer the sole decision-maker”. This was when I came across an article in Harvard Business Review stating how to provoke our customers in a downturn to turn any challenge, every “NO” into opportunities.
“How you sell matters. What your process is matters. But how your customers feel when they engage with you matters more”Bova, T. (2019)
Provoking customers requires a different sales process and sales maturity as it can upset our customers if not correctly applied. Provocation-based selling goes beyond the conventional consultative or solution-selling approach. So how do you learn to become provocative?
- Identify a critical issue. Identify essential issues that matter so deeply that even in a downturn, the money will be found to fix it
- Formulate your Provocation. Develop an original point of view about it. Otherwise, no senior executive will give you time
- Lodge your provocation. Here’s a caveat … do this carefully. Provocation should not be seen as an invitation to behave disrespectfully; it should be a way to challenge the equilibrium, the status quo without putting the customer on the defensive
Provocation selling is powerful that shortens the sales cycle by four months. So, I recommend that you read the article attached to this communication to learn how to formulate your provocation statement. If you need support, coaching and help, do not hesitate to involve me.
DISCLAIMER. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author, and they are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organisation, company, individual or anyone or anything.