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The fifth step in commercial teaching is about providing customer with a new alternative. By articulating a cross-road and the nature of your alternative. Alternatives trigger choices and new choices trigger actions.
Creative Cross-road Construction
To build momentum for action down a new path you have already built a sense of urgency for change. You need to assure the client see a cross road. A choice built around an important business issue. Keep your mind focused on the cross road as your client would see it from their business’ perspective.
The right choice representing what you think is best and right for your client. It does not need to be very different as long as it a big enough difference to make the old path questionable.
The left or wrong choice representing the current path. This is the path you are challenging and at this stage it is a path well understood by your client and you.
Reap Right Road Rewards
The right road need to be so attractive it is worth switching to. The earlier you can get into the client buying process the better. The later you try to change the bigger the risk the old path is too entrenched in key stake-holder’s minds.
Aspire to articulate 3 strong characteristics of the right path. Test these towards 1 strong and 2 weak for the old path. Your strongest characteristics need to be better than the best of the alternative. But to win you need to show significant differences in 1 to 2 additional points. By picking 3 clear battles you have good odds to win owner clients to your new way.
Actions Advancing Alternative Agenda
At this stage it is crucial to introduce actions that help clients start moving from the old path to the new way.
Actions to establish the new way in their minds.
Expect your client to need help in defining the actions required. A delicate subject where a smorgasbord of possible actions or a few leave room for your clients’ detailed decision.
Good questions for you and your team
- What is the central business issue defining the cross-road – aim to put yourself in your customers shoes.
- What do we consider to be the right choice – outlining the best option for your client.
- Which 3 strong characteristics define our proposal – facts backing up the superiority of our way.
- What do we know about the details of the old path – crucial to understand what you position towards.
- What are the 1 strong point and 2 weak ones we play against – a good frame to craft a superior way.
- Which actions would we consider if we were in our client’s shoes – expect clients to need support in seeing required actions.
Addition reading suggestions
- Examples of strategic alternatives [BLOGPOST] – by Small Business
- Strategic options in managing change [BLOGPOST] – by DIY Committee guide
- Too keep your customers, keep it simple [ARTICLE] – by Harvard Business Review
- How to change customers’ minds [ARTICLE] – by Forbes