Having a skill, reputation or level of confidence doesn’t mean much unless the party receiving that service believes it, is buying what you are selling – then it gets very real.
Long ago a boss drilled this into me: never assume, never presume, never subsume that which is not known.
When we think things are negative, are they?
When we think things are great, but aren’t, is that a false positive?
I’ve had some recent client relationship situations – let me call them personal case studies – where the best of or worst of results could occur, some first time experiences mixed with some déjà vu-du-du. Same guy, same old ways of doing things – different customers from different sections of the ‘trust grid’.
This prompted me to do a de-brief with a couple of clients. It was very instructive, validating and at the same time very surprising. Flattering too, of course, when somebody says nice things about you – but not always about things you might expect. No relationship is all good things any more than situations being all bad. Every relationship, every transaction, every interaction is a mix of so many things.
Many years ago I took a two-day workshop course – it wasn’t Myers-Briggs but had similar underpinnings – the purpose of which was to identify customers by type, both in terms of their personality and their decision making style. The objective was to learn better approaches and effective ways of selling to and then serving them, and to progress more effectively from being simply a service provider to landing in that final and fourth quadrant on the grid – as a most trusted advisor.
Those lessons have stuck with me. Not so much that I am deliberately putting people I meet or reach out to into boxes on a grid but I recognize these important differences when I look back at relationships with different clients – in terms of how the relationships began and how things have worked out. In some cases, awesome results. Sometimes not. Why is that?
I’m the same guy . . .
But customers are all different and don’t self-identify in terms of what they will be like to deal with, how they will behave when something goes wrong, or when it goes unexpectedly well – perhaps not unlike interpersonal relationships.
This was driven home for me most clearly when, a few years ago, CNN announced their slogan ‘most trusted name in news’. After they’d said it enough times it was certain that they believed it, though I doubt anyone else did.
Because a relationship isn’t want the salesman says it is, but rather what the customer (stakeholder, shareholder, partner, public, family member or friend) believes it is because they see it, feel it and know it to be true.
Sure, I like CNN just fine, but ‘most trusted name in news?’. Gimme a break!
In business we often de-brief, research and try to explain why things went wrong – how it is that something went off the rails.
But, the converse – why things when right? – is something we don’t often dissect. It is so much easier to enjoy the success, close the sale, seal the deal and move on to the next one . . .
But what were those ingredients?
What elements combined to make that sale, to ensure success?
Do we spend as much time figuring out our success ingredients as we do examining the entrails of the situation that went sour?
My lessons learned?
Too often methinks, we make assumptions that feel good but aren’t necessarily the precise reasons someone trusted us, felt confidence in what we were selling or was loyal to us.
I’m learning to ask those questions better.
And more often.
Amazing results – delightful surprises.
OK, not always delightful.
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: -4C/25F, early/dark, mild breeze, traffic back to pre-holiday levels and the early morning calm/quiet has receded to earlier hours …
AS often happens in your musings Mark, today's struck a chord. As often is the case over the Christmas Season, many of us experience losses of family, friends, associates. Your closing comments on friends is good as a growing number of high school friends - good ones at the time, begin to succumb to the inevitable inflictions that life hits us with. This case in particular was cancer. I used to joke with my Mom about calling with good news Vs. someone in the family having been struck down by something. I now find it's my buddies giving me the news, almost as frequently. Good topic for reflection today. Cheers, RA, Calgary, AB
Today you provoked my thoughts - had not considered this perspective previously - thank you.On a side note - what breed of dog is Gusta? (Having recently become a companion to a dog myself, I am now interested in all dogs). Not sure if you have mentioned it before, I picture her(?) as a Golden Retriever (or possibly a Lab), GG, Calgary, AB
Thank You Mark~ I am definitely dealing with the friends that drift away, Yet maybe Somewhere in their dissonance They are Teaching me Not to distance from myself and to be more fully with the source of divine friendship That is Always here, just look at Nature* CD, Sierra Foothills, CA
Again, best wishes for a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year Mark. Your Musing today really had me reflect for a while on that very topic of friendships, relationships and the time one puts in to maintaining, holding on to, and a preparedness to share. I know you have spoken/written about Gary and his imminent passing. You brought back to me those same emotions and powerful feelings that I held and still hold true too around my lifelong friend Johns death only 2 years ago. I believe it is so very important that we let people know that we do care about them and are there for them. I loved John and he so clearly knew that. Did it make his death any less painful; I am sure it did not. Did it make my grieving process less difficult? I don’t know. 2014 is going to be , has to be, because I will make it that , a better year than 2013. So with that commitment made to 2014, I want you to know that your Musings and FACILITYCalgary are 2 key pieces that provide me with ,often times, emotional think time and community/business think time. These are both important to me Mark: thanks. I have diarized to call you next Monday. Sincerely, JJ. Calgary, AB
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