Nearly every company rep or consultant has walked away from a meeting wondering where they went wrong. After all, they covered all the bases they wanted to—and the person they talked to seemed interested. So why is it so hard to get back in to see them?
The problem probably has to do with how you communicate with other people. Now, don’t be offended. We are taught to communicate in school as if we were delivering book reports on every subject or that an executive summary style is really what people want to hear.
People don’t go to presentations to see slide shows. People don’t conduct meetings to find out about products or services either. We meet with each other to establish a human connection. And upon that all business—and everything else—is based.
Allow me to explain: if you immediately launch into what you do at the beginning of a meeting, you’ve already lost your audience. That’s because effective communication is always about them, not you. And simply asking questions won’t do it either. Yes, you are interested in them. Of course you are. And they are thinking this person wants to sell me something. That’s not a good way to begin.
Create a good opening by telling them something about you that is honest, transparent and connects why you are there with their business.
Before your next visit to a potential client, answer this question: what is my favorite childhood toy and why? Let’s assume—as one person we trained recently revealed—your favorite toy was tinker toys. The kind you had to put together to create something. What if you had started the meeting like this: “Your business is like my favorite childhood toy: tinker toys. You obviously had to put a lot of different components together to make this work. I used to love to do that—and still do. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to see you today—to find out more about how you’ve created your business.”
Good communication is about creating conversation, not hitting data points. An effective way to do this is to work on creating messages that actually mean something to the person you are calling upon. Allow the other party to talk. Listen. Respond as a leader by revealing something about yourself—not in a self-serving, but helpful way—that fuels the conversation.
As we know, anyone can talk. Leaders communicate.
~ Darrell L. Browning