Our effectiveness with leadership, influence, and sales can be greatly enhanced when we seek first to truly understand the people involved.
In the late 1990s, I was a young and confident Information Technology Professional with a dozen years of experience developing and selling I.T. solutions. I thought I was pretty good at demonstrating I.T. solutions to potential clients, helping to influence their buying decision. Frequently flying across North America to provide consulting, training, and sales support, has given me a sense of pride in my credibility and influence… until I discovered a strange truth.
One day, while listening to a set of cassette tapes for an audio series titled “Counselor Selling”, I heard a quote that forever changed the way I view the selling process. It also changed my view on leadership and influence. Here’s the quote, as I remember it: “People don’t buy your products or services because they fully understand all the features and benefits; they buy your products or services because they believe you understand them.” In other words, complex buying decisions are often made based on trust; and people are more likely to trust those who they believe understand their circumstances, problems, and opportunities.
How did that change the way I sell, influence, and lead? Since I embraced that powerful insight, I have been making more conscious efforts upfront to ensure I understand the people involved – their circumstances, problems, and opportunities. It’s not enough to just understand them though; I must also ensure they believe that I understand them. I do so by engaging in active listening and asking various types of questions. I leverage stories and analogies as powerful tools to help make heart and head connections. This conscious upfront investment of time and effort has yielded great results as well as great relationships.
If you want to increase your ability to lead, influence, and sell; seek first to understand the people involved.