Best alternative for moving a major customer forward: using Option Solving?

Best alternative for moving a major customer forward: using Option Solving?

During a recent business networking talk, I got talking with an executive about his latest dilemma in building a relationship with a major new customer. They had agreed on a trial run with three outlets, but things had not gone so smoothly despite his company’s best efforts. For that reason the relationship was on hold, even though he still had a phone relationship with his original contact. We discussed Leadership Solution’s option solving approach and he was willing to use it to figure out his best alternative for moving this customer relationship forward.

I introduced him to the need for an appropriate rational question as his starting point, which, after due consideration, came out as follows: What is our best option for moving a major customer forward; considering 1) test group balked, 2) customer doesn’t appreciate the opportunity lost, 3) the offering was incomplete, and 4) good chance they will adjust their thinking, once they complete the offering?” These four considerations were around 50% of the key ones he listed, so as to make the process more comprehensive.

With this in place, I challenged him to create yin and yang “bookends” – see our worked example – that would frame his eventual choices.  These  were, “Threaten with breach of contract” and “Offer time investment in some other outlets with greater leverage potential.” Our Latest Example will demonstrate why these two bookends were least likely to work in his case, but they would at least meet the purpose of stimulating his creative juices to come up with other more practical alternatives.

Once he had figured these out, I encouraged him to produce at least five, pragmatic alternatives. It would take this minimal number to ensure he stretched his thinking as much as possible in the hope of revealing an optimum option. You will see these in our Latest Example, where one of these was: “Option B – Meet/Phone key contact and share opportunities lost with test group.”

I then encouraged him to sleep on the “pictogram” we produced, with its five realistic alternatives, and then strongly suggested that he review it first thing in the morning. Whatever his most spontaneous choice, which had been objectively researched by his intuitive mind overnight, should be the one to pursue. Even if it doesn’t seem quite the ideal choice, he shouldn’t second-guess himself.

This overnight activity is called emotional distancing, Pretty soon after making his after-sleep choice, I encouraged him to figure out an action initiative while things were still pretty fresh in his mind. That way he would not have to second-guess himself rather than making headway. Which option would you have chosen?

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Dilemma over existing travel plans and looming winter storm?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through amazon.com)

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