“When we last spoke, we agreed that starting on xyz date gave us the time needed to meet the business outcomes for this year.
I have the implementation team ready to go. Since we haven’t spoken in 2 weeks, is that a sign I should release them to launch other projects?
2. "Is it safe to assume that priorities have shifted?
Our legal team is ready to work on the MSA, so if something has changed on your end I'd like to let them know so they can shift their focus elsewhere."
Our deal desk team is ready to negotiate the terms we discussed, so if something has changed on your end I'd like to let them know so they can shift their focus elsewhere."
My personal favorite:
3. Have your team’s priorities changed?”
"Is it safe to assume that priorities have shifted because you’re unclear about the problem we solve for as it relates to your use case?
This happens often, so what we do in this case is set up a workshop where we revisit what we know and see where we’re missing the mark.
There will be one of two outcomes: We may need to let go of this project and release our resources elsewhere or, oftentimes, we make adjustments and co-design a better solution that facilitates your growth/expansion initiatives further. I’ll involve my solutions engineer.”
Abby - “In my business, we sometimes run data analyses as part of their evaluation, ROI analyses that require them to share loss runs, accident costs, etc. or ask for rosters of the people they will enroll to help them understand the costs for implementation and estimated costs through out based on where those people are located.
These are things I think of as positive friction, since they get value out of the results of the analysis or estimated costs, however, it requires some work on their end to produce the document, spreadsheet, or compiling the data on their side. If a client does this, it's typically a very good sign that they're engaged and bought in.
Additionally, sometimes these steps take additional resources and time, but everyone's in agreement that this step is a necessary one to build stakeholder buy in, prove investment efficacy etc. so they are okay with this step and not just rushing to the 'pricing finish line'.
Finally, sometimes when these steps take place, it opens up additional information and can increase the deal size through further offerings that could solve challenges for them, or a group of people they had forgotten to share in disco or forgotten about enrolling entirely etc.
If they put this time and energy into the evaluation, it's a great sign; it rarely ends in being ghosted or given some non-answer for why the project didn't continue being evaluated, but rather, ends in a closed/won and sizable deal.” - Strategic Account Executive / Member of ESS
“The standard, "tell me about your challenges" doesn't work, and won't yield deep answers without "earning the right" first.One of my favorite ways, create a hypothesis based on research using LI, Persona, News, Company Data, Competitive Intel. Write 3-4 bullets on a slide that I call "What I think you care about" introduce the slide early in discovery.
I put the persons headshot from LI on the slide, and walk them through it as an outsider looking in. Then invite a correction and a deeper conversation. Often times we spend 15-20 minutes on this slide alone.
This approach becomes even more powerful when combined with the "Public Information Play."As a side note, it's essential to begin most meetings, especially with executives, by discussing market conditions and their impact on priorities. (Remember the “Amygdala Triggering Play” to execute this well.)Competitive Edge Play - Executives are always eager to stay informed about their competitors' activities. To capture their attention, conduct thorough research on their competition. In one successful deal, I examined all aspects of my prospect's business that my solution could impact.” David Weiss - Top Contributor to ESS + Founder of Dealdoc