Mastering the Customer Conversation

Have you ever asked yourself a simple question? What does my customer think about every day at 6:00 AM when they are getting ready for or driving to work?

How many of us have those sleepless nights where we keep running over all the things we have to do in the coming days, weeks, and months ahead? It feels as if we are on a hamster wheel, and it won’t stop. The night feels long, and the stress is real. At some point, we finally fall asleep. If you’re like me, you might wake up in the middle of the night, walk down to your home office and make a list on the whiteboard. Yes, I actually do that! Once I make a list, I find that I fall asleep faster. A good friend of mine keeps a scratch pad and a pen on the nightstand next to his bed in case he can’t sleep or if he wakes up with a great idea. I should remind him that he can record a voice memo on his Apple Watch and then go back to sleep.

A simple life tip for all of us that deal with stress is… we need rest! After a night of sleep, isn’t it amazing how the world seems clearer and calmer in the morning BEFORE we are flooded with communication from all angles? Now ask yourself this question, wouldn’t you love to have the list of the things that keeps your buyers awake at night? Is it revenue, satisfied clients, service innovation, turnover, referrals, company politics?

If you really want to connect with your customers, then you must put yourself in their shoes and think about their list. NOT YOURS! Here is the good news; in most cases, you already have the list. You just haven’t taken the time to think about it, document it and then activate that knowledge early in your customer conversations (after building trust via an authentic connection). You talk to prospects every day. If you take the time to step back and think about your buyers’ world and not yours, you can quickly come up with a “top 5” set of objectives and challenges that are at the forefront of your customers’ minds. Until you understand these objectives and challenges, how can you apply your product or service in the most meaningful way? Once you change your perspective, you begin to change the way you communicate.

Here are 5 practical approaches to building an objective centered relationship.

  1. Make a list of the top five (no more) objectives of your buyer
  2. Make a list of the top five (no more) challenges of your buyer
  3. Force rank those objectives and challenges from 1-5
  4. Highlight the objectives/challenges that you can uniquely solve
  5. After you build trust, discuss those objectives/challenges from a knowledge position supported with provocative and insightful questions

Once you do this work and can apply this early in the conversation, the speed of which your buyers will make a decision will increase. You never know, you may actually help someone sleep better at night because their list just got shorter.


Coaches Corner – Mastering the Coaching Conversation

Coaches, do you understand the objectives and challenges for each of your team members? Do you coach with their objectives and challenges in mind or yours? Here is a secret in coaching, help your players achieve their objectives, and yours will also be fulfilled. It is no surprise that each of our team members carries their own list of things that keep them awake at night. We have to take the time to tap into that list.  Over the next 30 days, I would like you to complete an exercise that might actually surprise you.

At the end of October, I want you to go back to your calendar and calculate how many hours you spent in 1:1 conversation with your team members. I’m talking about dedicated conversations with quality time. After you do this exercise, it may shock you how little time you actually spend with your team. If you’re not spending time, then you are making it difficult for yourself. However if you are spending quality people/relational time vs. task/transactional time then good for you, keep it up!

By making a simple change in the fourth quarter to quality time, it just may help you put your team members’ objectives/challenges at the forefront of your relationships as we close out 2019 and head into 2020.