One of our many coaching clients wanted to understand why he just wasn’t connecting well with prospects and consequently asked us to critique his presentation skills. I had him record a meeting he had with a prospect so that we could gain real world insight into where he could perhaps improve. His initial rapport building although not very personalized did break the ice and engage the prospect. To his credit he did uncover some important topics of concern to the prospect.
But then the advisor said, “Well let me tell you what your problem is and what you’re doing wrong,” and then delivered a litany around not having the right plan, too many of the wrong investments, and no real knowledge of market opportunities.
At the end of this dissertation by the advisor the prospect (likely looking the advisor straight in the eye) said with a very adamant tone, “This meeting is over. I thought you were here to solve my problems but instead all you want to do is point out what I am doing wrong and blame me for them.”
So what can each of us learn from this?
1 – First and foremost, always attack the problem(s) not the person.
2 – Position yourself as a problem solver not a fault finder.
3 – Be keenly aware that what you say matters most to the person who hears it.
Here is how to execute these three key learnings whether you are a seller or a leader
“Okay, it is clear we have several issues we can work on together to solve. You have a plan now that needs some review and possible revamping. You have some investments that need to be looked at given market conditions and the direction you want your financial future to take. What else is important to you besides these issues?”
This approach raises issues as a list to be further assessed and then solved.
When meeting with prospects and clients (or for leaders – your team); because of your skill sets, you see the solution before they even know they have a problem. Be careful that you don’t start spewing forth their problems as if they are their fault. They sense they have problems and their hope is you will see them, address them and help solve them. They really aren’t interested or receptive to being thrown under the proverbial bus. Any communication that tells people they are wrong will not be received!
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