“Dad,” he says. “There is one thing you need to tweak. It is not a big thing, but you are overthinking something.”
My son has grown up. With a family of his own and some life experience to tote around, I was all ears. You have got to love it when you kids teach you most significant lessons of life.
Back to that story in a minute. Let’s walk another path for a moment.
Blah, blah, blah . . . yada, yada, yada. The old “show up and throw up.” Are you guilty of amateur selling? May I suggest you get conVERTed.
In a coming issue of Psychological Science, Adam Grant shares his research that extroverts are NOT the best salespeople. In his article “Rethinking the Extraverted Sales Idea: The Ambivert Advantage” he points out that those most suited to selling today are those who don’t necessarily have a verbal agenda, but who are more prone to connect with the customer in a c-o-n-v-e-r-s-a-t-i-o-n! They are nether introvert, nor extroverts. They are ambiVERTs
What a novel idea. Listen to the customer? Who thought that up? But it is even simpler than that.
Picture you in front of the customer. They say something and we digest that. Our steel-trap mind sucks the comment in, rolls it around our gray matter, and we strategize what our response is going to be. We formulate our plan to persuade, motivate and . . . sell. That might look something like:?
You: “Sooooo, what are your biggest challenges these days?”
Customer: “Probably dealing with a lack of growth.”
You: (thinking to yourself: “oh boy, this is like shooting fish in a . . . “) “Well my clients have three things they like to get our help on . . .”
What kind of growth is the customer lacking? Sales? Gross Margins? The time management skills of his organization? Perhaps his own muscle growth as he trains for a triathlon?
Back to my son. He tells me that when we take what the other person is saying and run it through our mental gymnastics or knee-jerk responds (like above) that we make the communication more difficult.
“Dad, when someone tells you something, PARROT back their comment. Not in your words. In their words as exactly as you can. Then they know that you are listening.
“Doing this may seem to be pedantic and elementary. But when they hear their words discharging out of YOUR mouth they mentally think, ‘wow, finally someone is listening. What a new, fresh, completely unique experience.’”
She speaks . . . I mirror back her words . . .and she speaks more enthusiastically . . . and I mirror. . . and. The next thing is her sharing something with me that I had not learned about her in 36 years! 36 years.
It can’t be that easy. And why not?
After all we are fully engaged when WE are the most interesting person in the room. And we know we are interesting when others listen to US.
It’s it time to engage your customers and find out the stuff that your extravert competition is running past? It is time to get over yourself.