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Are you blind to the status quo?

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The other day, I was doing a podcast when the interviewer floored me with his closing interview question: “What’s one thing that’s obvious to you but that most others are blind to?” Although no one had ever asked me that before, I immediately knew the answer. It’s a problem that’s pervasive in virtually every sales organization I’ve worked with.

It seems no one ever thinks or talks about it. Yet, if salespeople had this information, it could change everything. The glaring blind spot is knowledge about your biggest competitor: the status quo.

Unless you have a strong grasp on how your prospects are doing things today, it’s extraordinarily difficult to make the case for the business value you could bring to them.

If you can’t clearly articulate a strong value proposition based on this understanding, you will craft lousy email and voicemail messages and won’t be able to get your foot in the door. Plus, it’ll be darn near impossible to have an intelligent conversation, because you won’t have a clue as to what you should be discussing with them.

At its core, sales are about change. If your prospects can’t see enough value in switching, they’ll stay with what they have. If it’s hard work to get buy-in on your solution, they’ll stick with what they have — even if what you’re offering is better. 

On the other hand, if you fully understand the limitations of your prospects’ status quo, you’ll have a different discussion with them. If you know what their objectives are, you’ll be able to show them how changing might help them achieve those objectives.

It’s only when you truly understand your prospects’ status quo that you can appreciate the difference you can make for them. And, when you understand that, you’ll work harder, because you’ll know that what you’re doing is making a real difference.

So let me sum it up: By immersing yourself in the status quo, you’ll learn why people decide to change and the value they receive from that change. This in turn helps you create better messaging, which will get you into more conversations. And then, because of what you know, you’ll ask better questions, which will help people realize that changing is the smart thing to do. And then you’ll win more sales. 

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