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The mistake most companies make is believing that their customer always knows what they need. In an economy where people have access to information on the Internet, the client often feels informed enough to make their own diagnosis and then search for the solution they believe is best. In this case, price becomes the leading differentiator.

The reality is that most customers know what they are experiencing and they know what they believe will change the situation for them, but that is not the same as knowing what you truly need in order to get the results you want.

For example, if your car is leaking you might logically believe you need to go in and get the mechanic to plug the leak or replace the part so you don't have a leak. You focus on fixing that one piece (surface need) because you think if you plug the leak then your car will run just fine and you won't have any more problems (real need).

So now you are the mechanic. The person comes in and asks you what the cost is to fix or repair that piece. They have searched the Internet and know the cost and estimate of the repair. They feel informed, knowledgeable and in control of the problem and solution.

So would you just do what they ask or would you completely look at the car to see what might have caused the leak in the first place? Is it really just a faulty piece or is there a bigger problem going on- a problem that if you don't take care of it, it will cause their car to have other problems down the road?

As the mechanic, you owe it to your customer to keep your eye focused, not on repairing the leak (surface need), but in ensuring their car will run smoothly from now on (real need). This means diagnosing the problem and presenting solutions that enlighten the customer and align with their silent but true goal. This means they might not like what you have to say as they are prepared for a $300 car bill and you suddenly tell them to do it right will cost them $3000.

Here is the piece most companies miss--the value interpretation and value creation.
It is not enough to share with them what the problem is; you need to build trust that demonstrates you are looking out for their best interest, you want them to be accurately informed and you want them to make the best choice possible. Notice I didn't say you want them to just buy from you because the reality is the best choice might be to sell the car and buy a new one that is more reliable- hence no sale for you the mechanic.

When you focus on value creation and value interpretation you hold yourself accountable to remain focused, not on the surface need, but on the real need. You need to be able to build trust and ask questions that get them to think in new ways so they see the value of what you are saying and the value in the solutions and choices offered. You become focused on making your clients successful rather than satisfied.

When working with companies we spend a lot of time showing them how to probe, question, and draw out the customer so they get to the root of the problem rather than the symptom. Once you have done this you will build trust that shows you are focused on their best interests.

So here is your Take Action:
To build lasting partners, you need to ensure your entire team knows how to build that rapport, trust, and use ProbeQ’s™ to probe in a way that has the customer seeing you as a value creator!


As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time.  The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives.  Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results!  Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit  www.impressionmanagement.com,  or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .