Monday, November 22, 2010
Sitting at a conference last week the person next to me turned and said, "why would we care about this?". She didn't know me but she was aware that I could have cared less about the subject matter. The real issue lies in the fact that the speaker failed to recognize what everyone else felt apparent.
Every great Quarterback knows how to read the defense and to call an audible where necessary. As a speaker, presenter, salesperson or conversationalist you have to adapt. Read your audience and adjust your message accordingly.
I have a few confidants that assist in my development as a professional. They do not work for me or with me but we face similar challenges. Our conversations often drift from standardized sales process to human theory. We discover that as we mature as human beings our process becomes less important than our intent. We discover that it is less important to know your product and more important to know your audience...and to differentiate a solution accordingly.
Here are the Keys to Differentiation:
Apply by Situation
Tell a Story
Two Ears & One Mouth
I used to think that possessing the 'gift of gab' was the key to being an admirable professional...I could not have been more wrong! If you walk into an office dressed sharp, pull up a fancy PowerPoint and start laser pointing your outstanding features the reaction of your audience will be two fold:
The precept that you are insanely self-centered
The Charlie Brown Teacher Scenario
I use every introduction to a person as an opportunity to learn as much about them as possible. Ask 20 questions, retain 3 or 4 key facts and work them into your next conversation. Likewise, with a prospective customer, listen to their pain points and articulate your solution to them in a meaningful follow up conversation.
Just for YOU
People are startled when you meet with them a month later and recite things they have mentioned..."you have a great memory", they may say. If you site an entry from this blog in conversation with me you can guarantee my attention.
People exist to have their thoughts validated and addressed. Take in as much information as possible before your propose what you can do for someone.
Expertise is a silly myth. A book cannot tell me what you face in your corporate environment. You have to know the applicable nature of your products and services, the according scalability and how to uniquely apply a prescription for the pain.
We have a customer who we assisted in a similar situation...
I just read a piece that mentioned a similar conundrum...
I walked into an office just last week....
We are 5 times more likely to remember a solution when framed in a real life situation. Get good at story telling.
The way to convey confidence is to address people in direct terms by showing you have listened to them. Hogwash only matters if you are bathing pigs. Your ability to be a skilled professional lies in your ability to convey your human understanding.
Don't Forget to Remember!