It’s not about you…really!
I’m sure you’ve heard it said in many different ways:
“You were given 2 ears and 1 mouth…use them proportionately”
“You never learn anything by talking”
“Most people listen with the intent to respond…not with the intent to understand”
So, we get it. As trusted business partners and sales professionals, we need to listen more and talk less. We must ask good questions and listen intently on the answers. I’d like to explore this “good questions” topic for a minute. Shouldn’t we be asking questions that uncover the customer’s perspective on areas of importance to them? Of course. But what are those areas?
Different sales methodologies or philosophies call them different things. At the end of the day, we want to understand the following:
- What does the customer need to achieve or deliver back to the business? (Business Issue)
- What are the hurdles or challenges standing in the way? (Problems)
- What is their view of how to overcome these hurdles? (Solution)
- What’s the value or impact of solving them? (Value)
- Who else is involved or impacted by this decision? (Power)
- What are the steps necessary to make the decision or to move forward? (Plan)
So, if that’s true, doesn’t it make sense to structure our questions around these critical areas from the customer’s perspective? And, if we do that, doesn’t that allow us to listen more and talk less?
At the end of the day, customers care more about their business than yours. They care about your business (or capabilities) only in the context of whether or not you can help them solve their challenges. We talk a lot about this in our ValueSelling workshops. The best way to understand the customer’s perspective of their objectives, challenges, etc… is to ask them, and then…wait for it…listen.
But that’s just my two cents…and I could be wrong.
Latest posts by Jason McKarge (see all)
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