You've done a great job in your first appointment with the client. You've exposed lots of areas where they'd like to see improvement. You've also eliminated areas of focus that aren't important. You've asked the client’s help in narrowing down which challenge or challenges they'd like your help with. And that challenge may sound something like this:
"To increase sales of our new widgets,” or "to improve delivery of the product" or "improve in our customer satisfaction survey.”
Good, but definitely not great (they all seem fairly generic). Having spent countless hours with sales people, one hurdle we often have to overcome is the quality of the challenge we are asked to solve. After looking at countless challenges that business people present to us, I think I've found a barometer to measure the "meatiness" of any particular challenge.
When you've settled on a challenge like "to increase sales of our new widgets,” ask these three questions:
• How many widgets are you currently selling? (We need to know a baseline.)
• What percentage would you like to increase that by?
• And by when would you like to accomplish this increase?
Now your challenge sounds like this; "To increase sales of our new widgets by 20% in the next six months.”
More questions may come from this (Is this something I feel that I can accomplish? How much of an investment would be needed to reach this expectation? Is the client on board with spending that?), but they are leaning toward a more specific and measurable solution.
What tips do you have for fine tuning the business challenge? Share them in the comments below!
Emily Estey is a VP/Senior Consultant at The Center for Sales Strategy.