Create safe spaces with your prospects and customers. You might be thinking, so what exactly does that mean?
Build relationships with prospects and customers that are based on trust. When your key stakeholders engage with you they should feel like they can be honest. That feeling of taking a deep breath.
*takes deep breath*
Feels good right?
Your key stakeholders should come into interactions with you in a disarmed state. Ready to keep it real with you without pretense or suspense! They know that when it comes to meeting with you and doing business with you, it’s safe to get into the details. There’s no BS. It’s two equals engaging for a better future state. You’ll know that you’re creating safe spaces when your stakeholders say things like, “oh boy it’s been a tough day...our management team are down our necks,” OR, “ salesperson, I’ll be honest, things aren’t where we think they should be.”
In order to achieve this you need to do these few things consistently.
- Be congruent - say you’re going to do something and do it
- Make them a key player in your story - no, not circling back or “checking in,” some real detail. “Hey key stakeholder, I’m working on building this thing out but your input is what’s going to make this a success. Can we put time in the diary tomorrow at X to go through this?”
- Challenge their thinking - there are probably only 0.1% of prospects that are working with you to do what they’ve always been doing. Whether they say it or not, they are seeking some new approaches and ideas. Come to the table with ideas backed with data. When they share their thoughts, challenge them to explain their reasoning.
Do these things more often and you’ll start to get the inside scoop on things. You’ll be in a great position to say, “hey prospect, I know this additional thing isn’t within the initial project, but after hearing you share thoughts on X, I think there’s an opportunity for us to give you an additional 20% ROI. If I can show you this, can we work on securing a budget?
Will you create safe spaces with every stakeholder? No. It’s highly unlikely. But the few that you do achieve this with will pay you dividends in the long run.