By Dr. Geoff Smart
Let’s say you’re closing a deal and you’ve already taken the first step: you’ve summarized the client’s underlying need...
Now you’re ready for Step 2: Say what you plan to do.
Describe exactly what you’ll do to help the client successfully satisfy their underlying need. Even smart people worry about putting themselves out there by offering a plan. They worry that someone may disagree with them. They worry about proposing a plan that doesn’t work. That’s why many advisors stay “safely vague” rather than offering a specific plan.
But being vague doesn’t help leaders solve some of their biggest problems. You have to have the courage to propose a plan. For example: “I have some ideas about how you can achieve your goals. Want to hear them?”
“Yes!” (the client says, while taking out a notebook and a pen).
“There are five parts to what I think you need to do, in this order. They are designed to increase your power score, starting with priorities, who is on your team and relationships. First, there is no way you are going to be able to take the company in a whole new strategic direction without the board’s support.”
“So first we have to articulate your vision and your priorities on paper, with goals and strategy and budget implications, and then get the board’s support.”
“Right, it’s going to change our budget, so rather than let the board nix it this fall, I should get out in front of this and get their support from the beginning.”
“Second, you seem to have questions about the capabilities of many of the key leaders in the US, Europe and in your Asia region. It would be helpful to assess your team, to have a clear view of who is going to fit in the new organization, and who is not a fit.”
“Yes, that would be helpful—to have an X- ray of the org chart and figure out who needs to go where to align with the new strategy.”
“Third, fourth and fifth will be all about culture change. Change the incentives. Change the meeting cadences of what metrics are tracked and discussed—who meets when to discuss what. And what some of our most successful clients have done in situations like this is design work- shops—like a roadshow—for you and key leaders to educate and train the next two levels on what you expect from them, and why, in the new world order. This gets the troops aligned behind your new vision.”
“Wow! Yes, yes and yes.”
“And even if you do all of that, I only give it a 70% chance you will fully actualize your goal within three years—in the market and culturally. Still, that’s a lot better than the 5% chance you give yourself today.”
“I’d take 70% over 5%.”
Now that you’ve stated your plan, you are in a much better position to close the deal.
Chairman & Founder of ghSMART, Geoff is co-author, with his colleague Randy Street, of the New York Times bestselling book “Who, The A Method for Hiring" and the author of the #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller "Leadocracy, Hiring More Great Leaders (Like You) into Government." Geoff co-created the Topgrading brand of talent management. He is the Founder of two 501c3 not-for-profit organizations. SMARTKids Leadership Program'," pro-vides 10 yearn of leadership tutoring and The Leaders Initiative.. seeks to deploy society's greatest leaders into government. Geoff earned a B.A. in Economies with Honors from North-western University, an MA., and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Claremont Graduate University.