Here is a question for some of your clients:
“Mr. Client, what is your company doing during this downturn to increase market share?”
Now, his answer is likely to be, “We are just trying to survive.”
Your response . . .
“I understand. That’s always the first order of business. But, we do know from history that the biggest transfer of clients and business occurs when the economy is under stress. That’s when people review all their business relationships, often reshuffling the deck as they search for new and better ideas. You have a great company (product) and now may be the time to introduce it to more people.”
This is an interesting place to lead a client, intellectually.
First of all, it’s true. Second, it’s something positive, exciting and hopeful to contemplate. And finally, it may very well be doable in your client’s case, with your help.
The discussion should lead to where your client stands today in terms of market share and where he would like to go.
In a small business it could be something as simple as going from 100 to 120 customers. In a larger enterprise, the answer will be more complex.
But, if you can agree on a worthwhile goal, tell your client you would like to go back to the office and talk it through with your team.
Later, when you reconvene, you will have a common vision in mind, and a much more focused, positive and enthusiastic strategic discussion as opposed to the negativity that is such a dominant theme these days.