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Being Heard

Last Monday, my younger son told me that he did not want to go to ballet class. This was surprising to me, since he really loves ballet.

So, I started asking him questions about it. While the first answers were “I don’t know” and “I just don’t feel like going, today” (he is almost a teenager after all), I continued to keep asking for more details. That is when I discovered that he does not feel this particular class is challenging enough for him. That, combined with his friend not attending this class for the summer, made it less fun to attend.

Given my busy schedule, I have no desire to take the time to get him to ballet unless he wants to be there. So, we made a plan to talk with the school director to figure out which class is the right fit for him. At the end of our discussion, Will thanked me for taking the time to really listen to him and figure out a plan to make ballet more enjoyable.

He was happy to have been heard. And don’t we all appreciate being heard?

This goes far beyond satisfaction surveys. There is a lot to be learned from having an in-depth conversation with a client. You want to figure out the problem beneath the problem.

For example, when a prospect tells me they want to generate more leads, that is not what they really want. It is how they think they can get to their bigger goal, such as increased sales so they can afford to hire a new salesperson.

However, generating more leads may not be the most direct path to get to their goal. Maybe they can achieve their goal more quickly by offering an additional service to existing clients.

When you have conversations with prospects, be curious. Understand their bigger goals so that you can help them find a solution that gets them there faster, even if it is not using your services. That is something you can be sure will set you apart from your competition.

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