As I drive between appointments I often get a chance to listen to radio. Personally I like the programming on NPR. Recently I was listening to Terry Gross on the Fresh Air program interview the actors in the FX Series Justified.
A comment by one actor Timothy Olyphant really caught my ear. He was answering the question about how does he interact with others in the scene, how does he direct himself. His comment was,
“…it’s all about the other. If when they call cut, I am aware of what I did that’s not good (too much in my head). If I remember clearly what they did, I know I did well.”
How does that apply to the sales process; or the management or leadership process? I think very well.
As a sales professional, I walk into every meeting with an agenda. I want to determine if the buyer can use my services and if so I want them to determine that I am the right kind of guy to do business with. So I have a list of questions, and responses lined up. I plan every call. And then like they say of battle once the first shot is fired all the plans are outdated.
What I observe is that when I pull myself back from the need to make a sale (and I do need to I have a quota after all) and when I focus on the buyer, what is their situation, what are they concerned about when I focus on them, I normally walk away with a desire on both parties part to learn more and to see if we can build a business relationship.
It is a little like the advice we got about remembering people we meet. Look into their eyes and remember their eye color. If you can remember their eye color, you made good eye contact. I believe like Olyphant believes; that if I can remember clearly what the buyer was talking about and thinking, I have made a good sales call.
We are more successful when we listen, when we deliver attention and when the focus is on them vs. us. We can all identify our colleagues who are smart and credible and who know their stuff. And yet we wouldn’t buy from them because it’s all about them.
Can you remember the details of your last meeting? What are you remembering what you did and said or what your audience did and said?