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November 20, 2006


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biren shah

i faced a different problem. and i thought i would share it here for people to really see the key of what happens when we miss a step.
robert, thanks for bringing this clarity to me. it was like... zen!
i am a very good listener. probably because i am curious about people, their thinking, feeling and acting/reacting processes. and also, in a small measure... i really want to support people in their quests.
(realising this, i may have developed a conceit ... that just my listening will convey, and make, people ready to listen to what i had to say, and take up my services. i mean, when one listens completely, solutions are never hard to see - it is never rocket science.)
what i used to do was - ask questions... open ended, leading towards the roots. and then i would listen - silently and attentively - to words and everything surrounding those words.
this gave me a fair idea of who the client was and where the root of the problem may be lying (more than WHERE that problem was showing up). once that was done, i would start on a series of 'situational-analysis' questions.
usually i found that the client who had become very open during the 'sharing' phase, would act wierd when i started this line of questioning. he would either glaze, answer vaguely or evasively... and somtimes, as an extreme case, show irritation and avoidance - in some cases even though he had already hired me.
yes, the person who was already paying for my services, would try putting off talking to me.
there are atleast 3-4 reasons i have found, which could be the cause of this... one of them is what robert says: missing the step.
and that step, i have found, is: focussing the client on what we have got together for (pre or post sales).
what i wanted to bring out here is - it is not the depth of our expertise that counts... atleast not when we miss out on the important steps in the process.
thank you robert. most of what i have shared here has been illuminated because of your focus beam. :-)
(sorry. i found that i missed that step of focussing here too. what i didnot share is, i present myself as an advertising, and marketing communication developer and designer. but my process (and actual offering too) is more like a consultant-coach. and this realisation also came because i saw the step i was missing.

Dave Geraghty

Selling is exciting because we have an opportunity to display our expertise and create value for the customer. However, I must admit that having expertise is not the end game in sales.

Although, having knowledge is essential, understanding the customer is vital. As an insurance consultant working with employers and their benefit plans I must understand their frustration and help them articulate the problem definition before they are willing to make progress.

Too often, I had worked hard to give prospects and clients answers before they were able to comprehend the complexity and cause of their frustration. It took only a few short but costly lessons for me to learn that I must listen to the customer describe their pain.

Most importantly, if they are unable to describe their pain or comprehend it this will only add to their frustration. Jumping the gun by providing answers prior to allowing them the opportunity to inform me about what they know about their problem kills the sale and intesifies their emotions.

Listen, Listen and Listen some more until they are ready to ask for help or allow us to work on a problem definition worthwhile. Without a problem definition there will be no progress.

Most executives are critical thinkers and very uneasy when problems cause emotions to dominate their thinking. When emotions are peaked, it is most likely that they are struggling to comprehend the situation.

They demand answers, but give them rationale and assistance to see the situation from cause to resolution and emotions find equilibrium and activity follows. I began to notice this truth in action by observation of their confidence.

If an executive is not confident there is not much I can do execept work on the factors that they feel are critical to their needs, even if they are unsure about how to obtain a solution.

So, my recommendation is to help customers comprehend and articulate their problem definition to the point that they are willing to pay for the best resolution or outcome that meet their need. In fact their problem definition is my key success factor to making the sale, because this is how I develop the need pay-off which best describes their expectations.

Thank you for the great ideas that keep me on track with progress.

Peter Schnell

The least I can do as I enjoy your newsletters is add a comment.

Sales, many years ago I'll admit, I learned a lesson.

During an in home appointment, I introduced myself, he introduced himself and then her by her first name.
As I was winding up, I referred to her as Mrs Smith, to which he promptly said "This is not Mrs Smith. This is a friend while she is away on holidays".

Don't Assume - Ass or U & Me.


Lyle Lachmuth - The Unsticking Coach

Premature closure!

Being in too much of a rush to get the buyer to decide -- my need vs. their need.


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