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Mahan Khalasa, Randy Illig: Let’s get real or let’s not play

Foreword

Bob Elmore, who was the head of Business Systems Consulting at Arthur Andersen (may they rest in peace). After researching global best practices in selling business consulting and technology services and products, I designed and taught a course for Arthur Andersen partners.

While it may be hard to remember, the mid-to late 1990s was largely a time of demand fulfillment. You rowed your boat out into the sea of opportunity and the fish jumped into the boat.

Then came the new century and everything changed.

Introduction

Sales skills are life skills. What makes us better at sales makes us better in life.

  • Sales: We think of sales as the process of helping clients succeed in a way they feel good about.
  • Client: We use this term to mean anyone whom we are trying to help succeed.
  • Consultant: We use the term consultant to mean anyone trying to help a client succeed.

Getting “real”: This is a subjective term, used in this book to mean being authentic, being truthful, saying what we mean, being congruent with what we value.

Exact Solution: No solution is perfect. We get closer and closer, but never get there completely. We use the term “a solution that exactly meets the client’s needs” to represent a solution that is not more than the client needs, nor less than what is possible.

There is no ultimate sales methodology or one right way of doing things.

For instance, buyers may send out Requests for Proposals (RFPs) that, under threat of pain and death, refuse to allow any human being to talk to any other human being. Buyers hate having their time wasted yet are all too willing to waste sellers’ time. Buyers’ current problems have been developing over years, yet they want sellers to propose a solution in two weeks.

If it does not make sense, let’s find out quickly, shake hands, and part friends. If it does make sense, let’s have some fun, do good things, and make some money.

There are four major sections in the book.

  • “Key Beliefs” lays out underlying premises upon which the rest of the book’s content is based.
  • Qualifying: Should we keep talking?
  • Winning: Should you do this with us?
  • Initiating: Should we be talking?

CHAPTER ONE – KEY BELIEFS

Every sales or decision-making methodology has underlying assumptions and beliefs.

We base our methodology on the following premises:

  • Consultants and clients want the same thing.
  • Intent counts more than technique.
  • Solutions have no inherent value.
  • Methodology matters.
  • World-class inquiry precedes world-class advocacy.

Whenever we request something of the client, or they ask something of us, we examine whether that effort will take us closer to, rather than farther from, a solution that exactly meets the client’s needs.

Your clients will decide how much information to disclose based largely on their perception of the intent behind your questions: Are you asking questions to help them get what they want in a way they feel good about, or to help you get what you want in a way you feel good about?

There is an old maxim: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

Trust = Intent + Expertise. Clients must trust that your intent is compatible with their best interests, and that you have the expertise to design and deliver a solution that meets their needs.

We are more successful when we concentrate on the success of others rather than on our own.

Solutions derive value only from the problems they solve that people care about, and/or from producing results that people highly value.

We love talking about the solution. It is our comfort zone. We understand it, we know it, it’s about us, it’s our solution, and it’s really great. One of the hardest behaviors to overcome is the tendency to immediately go for the first solution. Move off the solution!

We refer to these skills and principles collectively as the business intelligence quotient (IQB or, simply, IQ). How intelligently can we uncover where and how value is created in an application, function, process, unit, organization, or economy?

Methodologies can help us take a complex (sometimes even chaotic) series of events and processes and represent them in an understandable, repeatable, and transferable way.

The ORDER methodology is an abstract of how people develop business at a high level of expertise.

  • Opportunity: Should they do it? You cannot help someone succeed who has no perceived needs or wants. No pain, no gain, no opportunity.
  • Resources: Can they do it?
  • Decisions: How will the decision be made, and by whom?
  • Exact Solution/Enable Decisions: Will they do it with us?
  • Results: Will they do more with us?
  • The better the job we do with ORD, the higher the probability of success in ER.

If there is not a qualified opportunity, with sufficient available resources, and if there is not a clearly defined decision process with access to the people we need to see, then neither our client, nor we, have earned the solution.

Successful business development is a balance between inquiry and advocacy. Skilled inquiry produces mutual understanding: we better understand what the client truly values; the client gains better clarity of his/her own situation and possibilities; the client feels understood.

Most people know how to ask questions and hear what others are saying, yet few are consciously competent at developing a high degree of mutual understanding.

Consultants commonly resort to three traditional approaches to interacting with clients:

  • We always have telling as a choice. Telling, however, has a low probability of producing a solution that clients feel exactly meets their needs.
  • Accepting what clients want is not always bad, particularly if we agree with them.
  • Of course, we consultants do not like to call it guessing — we call it diagnosis, assessment, analysis. Consultants, being the intelligent people we are, have formalized the guessing process; we call it a proposal.
  • There is a fourth option: we mutually explore with clients a solution that truly meets their needs — whether they eventually get that solution with us or with someone else.

CHAPTER TWO – QUALIFYING: OVERVIEW

Qualification is a process of mutual exploration and, we hope, mutual understanding.

“Not a good fit” is a great conclusion, if arrived at early. It is a horrible miscalculation if arrived at late.

Three factors tend to move together: value, trust, and the flow of meaningful information.

Value is a lagging indicator; we find out only afterward if it is realized. Trust is hard to measure. What we can measure is the flow of meaningful information.

Nobody could respond to RFPs unless they were permitted to talk with at least one human being who was intimately familiar with the the business issues the RFP solutions were meant to address. A deal is not qualified because we think it is; it is qualified because of what the client says. It is not a problem until the client says it is.

Much of the guessing we do involves our interpretation of what people mean by the words they use. Language is imprecise.

We often mistake fluency (in which we both use the words easily) with comprehension (when we both have the same meanings for the words).

Clients often describe their situations with what linguists call “complex equivalents” or “high-level abstractions.” These are words or phrases that encode many experiences and beliefs into one small package.

The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms. — Plato

Assumptions are another form of guessing. They are particularly insidious because they often happen unconsciously; we do not even realize we are guessing.

Often a question forms in our mind and, for whatever reason, we do not ask it. We then guess about the answer.

If hitting a red light on the road of opportunity is unavoidable, when would we like to hit it? As soon as possible! Intellectually, we know this; emotionally, we resist it. The rule with yellow lights is: If you see it, hear it, or feel it, find a way to say it — tactfully. Yellow lights are doubts, stalls, concerns, fears, objections, or tough questions. Red lights are not failure. Failure is making red lights needlessly more expensive.

Good questions unite the intelligence, emotional, and execution quotients:

  • IQ: Good questions do not merely elicit information the client already knows; they provoke a deeper exploration and insight on the part of the client.
  • EQ: Questions are “good” in large part because of how they are asked.
  • XQ: Good questions are not random; they are organized in a logical progression in which questions and answers build on each other.

Are you hearing exactly what the client is saying — and not saying?

We ask a good question, and instead of listening to the answer, we start thinking of the next question.

Listening requires choice and concentration. Expert listeners consciously choose which voice they pay attention to — their internal voice or the client’s.

CHAPTER THREE – QUALIFYING OPPORTUNITIES

Opportunity Checklist:

  • Issues: What problems or results is the client trying to address? In what priority?
  • Evidence: How do we define the problem? How do we measure success?
  • Impact: What are the financial and intangible costs and benefits?
  • Context: Who or what else is affected by the issues and the solution?
  • Constraints: What has stopped (or might stop) the organization from resolving these issues?

Human beings are wired to pay attention and exert effort in response to one of three key stimuli: pain, gain, novelty. We want less pain and will move away from it. We want more gain and will move toward it. We notice what is new in our environment and will pay attention to it until we assess whether it moves us away from pain or toward gain.

In a business context, the word “problem” is a synonym for pain; the word “result” is a synonym for gain. The authors use the word “issue” for either a problem or a result.

The intent of moving off the solution is to better understand the issues that the solution must address. The formula for moving off the solution is: listen, soften, move.

Structure the conversation

  • Move off the solution
  • Get out all of the issues
  • Prioritize the issues
  • Gather evidence and impact
  • Explore content and constraints

Find out which issue is most important to the client. Gathering evidence and impact is pivotal to building a good business case for the opportunity. Problems cost money. Results provide money.

When an issue is “hard” ask the “Five Golden Questions”:

  • How do you measure it?
  • What is it now?
  • What would you like it to be?
  • What is the value of the difference?
  • What is the value over time (over a reasonable management horizon — e.g., two to three years)?

Turn all nondollar figures into dollars. Do not end up with percentages or ratios without explicitly converting them to money.

Have the client do the math with you or for you — or verbalize the math you do and make it easy to understand.

We usually need to ask questions that help us determine how clients concluded they have a problem or would know that they had achieved important results. Two good words to help us gather such evidence are how and what.

It is almost always helpful to quantify the impact. Since the solution you will provide is priced in currency, it is helpful for the issues it addresses to be at least roughly described in currency as well.

If the issue is hard, ask the Five Golden Questions. If the issue is soft, peel the onion until you can ask the Five Golden Questions. If you cannot quantify, strongly qualify on a scale of one to ten.

When we ask the client for evidence, either they have it or they do not. When the client does not have evidence, either someone else does or nobody does. This is an opportunity to move from people who do not know to people who do.

If nobody has the evidence, an appropriate question is “Is evidence important?” If it is important to get the evidence, can they get it themselves or do they need some help?

Calculating impact is important in helping buyers make good business decisions. As we explore context, we may broaden and deepen our evaluation of the impact.

There are two types of context that are helpful to explore: organizational and operational.

  • Organizational: How does this initiative fit into the big picture? How does it connect with:
    • Mission
    • Values
    • Key strategies and initiatives
    • External and internal pressures
    • Political landscape
  • Operational context: Who or what else is affected?

When we explore context, we may find additional opportunities to help the client.

Exploring context might also reveal the existence of key influencers and decision makers whose input is important, and whose names might not otherwise appear.

If the impact seem big – When we explore issues, evidence, impact, and context with the client, and mutually conclude that the impact is substantial, a fair question arises: What has stopped the client organization from resolving these issues on its own?

If this is a new opportunity, with no history, the constraints question is “What, if anything, might prevent the successful implementation of this solution going forward?”

The answer to the constraints question falls into two broad categories: good constraints and bad constraints. Good constraints are barriers from the past that no longer exist. Good constraints are also those things we can do for clients that they cannot do for themselves. Bad constraints are factors that have prevented success in the past and, if not changed, will prevent it again in the future. You often gain more business by identifying and removing constraints than by pushing harder on the reasons to buy.

To merely accept the predetermined solution is a risk. If you accept that risk, it will be helpful to structure the conversation around the client’s decision criteria — how he or she will decide one solution is better than another, and the criteria for an ideal solution provider.

CHAPTER FOUR – QUALIFYING RESOURCES

Even if there is a qualified Opportunity, you cannot help someone succeed who cannot or will not commit sufficient resources to manifest the opportunity. Three critical resources to examine are: time, people, and money.

The timing question is not hard to ask — you just have to ask it.

Yellow lights on timing include:

  • The timing is too soon.
  • The timing is too far into the future.
  • The timing is undefined.

We would like to know how the client anticipates dividing effort and responsibilities between his or her company and ours. Who does what? Which people are critical for success?

Money is typically a function of scope, timing, and division of labor.

There are two times it is beneficial to talk about money: One is at this point, in Resources, and the other is later, in Exact Solution/Enabling Decisions. In Resources, we are talking only about value justification.

We are trying to understand if there is congruence between what they think it is worth to get the desired results (the return), and what we think is necessary to produce those results (the investment).

The client’s question, “Are we getting the best deal?” (price negotiation) is very different from “Can we afford this?” (value justification); it is important to understand the difference.

The client has a range. It may not be explicit or conscious, but it is there. We have a range too. The question is whether our ranges overlap. If not, we probably cannot do business.

So, when do we talk about money?

  • After Opportunity: after we have quantified the impact.
  • Before Exact Solution/Enabling Decisions: before we present our solution with its price to the client.
  • At the Right Place in Decisions: with the person(s) most appropriate in the decision process.

Whenever the client comes up with a number that is smaller than our number, it is helpful to ask, “And how did you come up with that number?”

This is an important question. The response often falls into one of two categories: logistics or value. You do not want to discuss value if the reason is logistics, and you do not want to explore logistics if the reason is value.

A logistics issue would be something like “That’s all we have left in this year’s budget.”

The client is not arguing about the value of doing it; he or she is concerned about the logistics. Value, on the other hand, involves some version of “That’s all we think it’s worth.” We clearly have a yellow light, so we may as well deal with it.

It is usually not a question of money; it’s a question of beliefs — typically one of three beliefs:

  • The client does not believe in the value of the solution.
  • They do not believe that what we do will give them that value.
  • They believe they can get the same value somewhere else for less.

CHAPTER FIVE – QUALIFYING DECISIONS

Smart people, trying to do good things, can make bad decisions.

Understanding and influencing how decisions are made is a critical juncture in the sales journey.

Only a small percentage of consultants do a good job of articulating and guiding the decision process. Fewer still gain access to all the key stakeholders, deeply understand what is important to them, and accurately elicit their criteria for making the decisions at hand.

  • First, find out the steps involved in making the decision.
  • Next, find out what decision gets made in each step.
  • Find out when they will decide.
  • Find out who is involved in each step.
  • Finally, find out how each person will decide.

If you want good information about what it takes to get a yes, make no be okay.

Articulating the steps is one goal. Influencing them is another.

We have three columns in the chart completed now: the steps, what decisions get made in those steps, and when those decisions will be made. The fourth question we ask our client is “Who is involved in each step?” At this point, we are not asking what each person’s role is, or the reasons each is involved in this step.

Some typical roles would be:

  • Initiator: Opens the transaction.
  • Gatekeeper: Controls information flow and access.
  • Champion: Willing to support our cause and aid access to decision makers.
  • Influencer: Nonbuyer who affects the purchase — from inside or outside the organization.
  • User: Affected directly by the purchase.
  • Decision maker: Makes the decision to buy.
  • Ratifier: Approves the decision to buy.

Do not confuse organizational authority with buying authority. In today’s world they do not always equate.

Many buyers would rather have a “less than optimal” solution than be aggravated by ignorant, arrogant, or incompetent salespeople.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to exactly meet the needs of people with whom we have not talked.

Clients ask us to spend considerable resources on developing and presenting a solution. The assumption is that the effort we put in will be of value to them. All we are asking of them is a value exchange.

All we are asking for is about 30 minutes of each person’s time. We are going to pursue only two lines of inquiry when we meet with the people we’re trying to see: we need to know the Opportunity from their perspective, and we need to know their criteria for making the decision.

There is a communication tool called “match and lead,” which is founded on the idea that if you cannot meet people where they are, you do not have the right or ability to lead them somewhere else.

One should doubt the professionalism and intellectual thoroughness of consultants who feel they can give a prescription without good diagnosis.

When someone other than us interviews key client stakeholders, there are two big challenges:

There will always be a dilution of information and meaning.

Clients interviewing people from their own company will not ask the questions we would.

Structure the call:

  • Understand the Opportunity from each person’s perspective. From your perspective as ___________, what are the important issues this project must resolve?”
  • Understand stakeholders’ criteria for deciding between alternatives.
  • Understand what they would like to see, hear, and experience in our presentation that would allow them to make a good decision.
  • Test out yellow lights.
  • Gain permission for another call, should it be helpful.

Understanding the competition can be an advantage and a disadvantage. It works against us if we focus more on the competition than on the client.

The smaller the number of competitors, the more likely the client has done due diligence and is ready to select; greater numbers suggest that a client is still in the information-gathering process.

People tend to act in their own best interest. Organizations try to align individual interests with organizational priorities. Sometimes they are aligned and sometimes not.

If we can understand how individuals stand to win or lose, we have a chance to align what’s in their best interest with what’s in the organization’s best interest.

CHAPTER SIX – WINNING: THE ART OF ENABLING DECISIONS

In Qualifying, we developed as much mutual understanding with the client as reasonably possible.

If we have done a good job of inquiry, clients also have more insight and feel we understand them and their business.

By the time we enter the Winning phase, we want to win this business, and feel we can.

The phrase “enabling decisions” connotes that the decisions themselves are enabling; they enable clients to get what they want in a way they feel good about.

There are two major keys to winning deals more consistently.

  • First, don’t present until you are ready to present.
  • Second, when you do present, present to enable a decision.

You are ready when:

  • You have completed sufficient ORD (Opportunity, Resources, Decisions) discussions with the people who influence and make the decision.
  • You are presenting in person to:
    • The right people
    • For the right amount of time

Proposals don’t sell, people do. Nobody reads them anyway. One study showed that decision makers spend about five minutes per proposal. What will they look at in five minutes? The price and some overview of what you want to say.

Do not present in writing what you could present in person. The “formal document” we write should be a confirmation letter or an agreement, not a proposal. The buying discussion will happen in the face-to-face meeting.

We are the proposal. When would you like to meet?

It is very difficult to arrive at a decision when there is insufficient time to fully explore thinking and to ask and answer questions.

The purpose of a sales presentation is to enable a decision. It is not to inform or educate, though that may be helpful.

The elements in the Meeting Plan are purposefully few.

Start with the End in Mind. If we agree that the purpose of a sales presentation is to enable a decision, then a critical determination is what, specifically, do we want the client to say, do, or decide at the end of our presentation?

The authors strongly recommend testing the meeting agenda with the client before the meeting.

If not accomplished before the meeting, gaining agreement to the End in Mind should come at the beginning of the meeting.

Once we know where we want to be at the end of the meeting, the next step is to decide how best to get there in the allotted amount of time.

To enable a decision, the first guideline is “Start with the End in Mind”; the second guideline is “Give only the information necessary for the decision.”

We should have no fewer, and no more, stepping stones than are helpful to get from the beginning of the meeting to the End in Mind. The general rule of thumb is to have between three to seven steps.

Key beliefs are one type of stepping stone. People make decisions based on beliefs. We are more likely to enable the End in Mind if we can explicitly state and resolve the underlying beliefs that support that decision.

If the client agrees to the End in Mind and the key beliefs, we have a structure well-suited to enable a decision. For each key belief we provide convincing proof or propose action to address that belief.

Our goal in asking for a decision is to find out what the client believes to be true in reaction to what we have proposed. There are two types of questions to plan for: questions we want answered by the client and questions the client will likely have for us.

During the presentation, when the client asks a question, it often masks the real question. People use questions in order to think. Thinking is an internal dialogue of asking and answering questions.

A useful tool in our repertoire is “redirection”. Redirection is answering a question with a question, which can be a powerful communication vehicle or a potentially irritating device.

The formula for redirection is: Listening + Softening + Redirection Question = Successful Redirection

We all have an ego (so it seems), and our ego is focused on getting our needs met — that’s what egos do. Often our response to client objections or challenges is to defend or attack, which can evoke a counterdefense from the client.

Here is a highly effective pattern for resolving nonprice yellow lights.

  • To acknowledge, we exhibit empathy and appreciation, although not necessarily agreement, with the client’s reason for not moving forward.
  • There is often a powerful urge to skip understanding and move directly to resolving. With discipline and skill we can understand: the real issue, the client’s criteria for resolving the issue, and what will happen if the issue is or is not resolved.
  • Clients tend to be convinced more easily, and with more conviction, if we resolve a yellow light using their criteria rather than our own.

Clients most often frame yellow lights in terms of what they do not like, what they do not want. It can be extremely helpful to invite them to think in terms of what they would like, what they do want, what would allow them to feel good rather than bad.

If clients give us their criteria and we can meet them, we are more likely to turn the yellow light to green convincingly and efficiently, with nothing extra.

Research on objections shows that many are simply a result of inaccurate or insufficient information.

Most consultants have used a story about success with one client to help resolve a concern of another. They often use their own personalized version of “feel, felt, found” (“I understand how you feel, other clients have felt that way, what they found was . . . ”).

Human beings make predictable errors in logic and reasoning. Despite the opinion of some consultants, clients are human beings.

Clients have to sell their products and services. They get yellow lights from their customers that are similar to the ones they give to us. What do they say to their own customers to resolve these yellow lights?

Metaphors and stories are powerful communication tools.

What happens, however, if clients give us a criterion that we cannot meet? Here are three ways to fundamentally change or reframe how they relate to a given criterion.

  • Change the relative importance of the criterion.
  • Show that no one could meet the criterion.
  • Change the client’s underlying beliefs about the criterion.

You can’t substitute good negotiation for bad selling. You should receive far less push-back on price if you have done a good job of agreeing on financial value in the Opportunity portion of qualifying. In Resources, you should have already qualified the client on the amount of investment they are willing to make to get the desired results. Hopefully, in Decisions, you have built rapport and relationships with key stakeholders; you understand their important nonprice criteria.

If clients do push back on price, do not take it personally.

The final price we select should not be a shock or surprise to the client; we test a price range before we get to the final presentation. We want to choose a price that is aggressive, yet realistic — which is often a tough balance to achieve.

We must also be clear about what would constitute “no deal”. “No deal” is the price below which we would rather walk away than accept the business; we have better alternatives available.

The general rule is: only negotiate price when price is the last issue on the table.

Price is primarily a function of scope (what we are going to do to produce the desired results), timing (how fast it will happen), and division of labor (who does what).

We should not give the same scope, timing, and division of labor for a lower price without some meaningful exchange of value.

When price is the last issue, examine trade-offs of price equivalents that keep you “whole”.

Concede slowly, concede in small amount.

If the decision we enable is not the final decision, we should confirm the remaining steps in the decision grid.

After we present our solution, clients will respond in one of three ways. They could say, “Yes, let’s do it.” They could say,“ No, thank you.” They could “not decide.”

Studies show that profitability is most affected by account retention, account expansion, and being the primary provider of services in an account.

If we don’t treat current clients like prospective clients, they will become former clients.

Many times, the reasons we think we have won or lost are not what the client was thinking or feeling.

We can live with yes; we can live with no; the interminable maybes are black holes. If it makes sense, let’s do it. If it does not make sense, let’s move on.

CHAPTER SEVEN – INITIATING NEW OPPORTUNITIES

Getting potential clients to call us does not need to be merely a fortuitous event. We can make it happen on purpose by developing a personal marketing and network plan that will cause people to call us on a regular basis.

The initiating process allows both us and the client to answer the question, “Should we be talking?” The initiating phase begins when we first identify a prospect and continues until the prospect says either, “This sounds interesting; I would like to pursue this idea,” or “, No, thank you.”

Here is the “Initiating New Opportunities” approach at a glance:

  • Prioritize: Do fewer; do them better.
  • Prepare: Develop in-depth knowledge of the company and people you will call on. Prepare client oriented communications.
  • Personalize: NO COLD CALLS! Get a referral to the person you want to see.
  • Practice: Rehearse what you will say and how you will say it. Rehearse your responses to potential questions and yellow lights.
  • Pre-position: Get agreement in advance for what will be a good use of time.

The authors recommend that you choose your top five prospects and invest 95 percent of your prospecting energy in those opportunities. The 80/20 rule doesn’t go far enough. Apply the 95/5 rule.

Consultants often invest significant resources in the final proposal or oral presentation, but spend little time honing the initial approach. Yet many buyers make their buying decision early in the process, often based on emotion and instinct, even though they may not give their decision until much later.

Two critical preparation elements are, one, a business case hypothesis and, two, a meeting plan.

There are three parts to the business case hypothesis: the client’s situation, our solution, and the reasons adopting that solution might make sense.

In this early stage of the sales cycle, we are not trying to sell anything! We simply want to decide if spending time discussing a potential business opportunity makes sense — or not. Our End in Mind is — should we be talking?

When asking questions, our emphasis is on importance, not completeness. If we could ask only three to five questions, and the client would answer them thoroughly, what would they be?

Here is an example of the meeting agenda:

  • Meeting Purpose
  • Agenda
  • Is there something worth finding?
  • Is the necessary investment of time appropriate and feasible?
  • Do the economics make sense?
  • Decide

Today’s successful and happy clients are tomorrow’s referrals. Many salespeople leave an account immediately after it is sold. When they do this, they are leaving more than just the account behind; they are leaving business that is likely more valuable than the potential project they are trying to move on to.

Potential referrals tend to fall into three categories: people who know us well, people we know, and people we know of.

If the referral is going to call on our behalf, rather than just allow us to use his or her name, it may be helpful to provide a suggested script of how to approach the call, or to at least walk through it.

While you will word the script differently, note that it covers the three common beliefs:

  • There is something worthwhile to talk about.
  • It will be enjoyable rather than painful.  
  • Your time will be respected.

What happens in the first five minutes of a call or meeting often has a big impact on the value of the remaining time.

Some common errors that occur here are:

  • Lack of preparation
  • Last minute rehearsal
  • Monologue vs. dialogue
  • All about us
  • Too long and detailed
  • Not compelling

To execute well takes preparation and practice.

SUMMARY AND QUICK REFERENCE

Hints for Asking Effective Questions:

  • Ask for permission to ask questions.
  • Ask one question at a time; wait for the answer.
  • Reward the response, then ask your next question. (When appropriate, use the client’s words from their questions: it’s a powerful reward.)
  • Be cautious of leading questions (questions designed to get agreement, not information or understanding).
  • Be aware of when “how” or “what” works better than “why.”
  • Summarize: Did I get it right? Did I leave anything out?

CREATING AND APPLYING AN INTENT STATEMENT

Please write out your “Statement of Intent.”

Though it is sometimes helpful to declare our intent, intent is conveyed by actions not by claims. Those actions in turn must be consistent and congruent. Congruent here is taken to mean alignment of the “four Vs”:

Verbal: the actual meaning of your words Vocal: how you say the words Visual: how you look when you say the words Visceral: a gut sense by others that you mean what you say — which is heavily influenced by the other three Vs.

If you act consistently and congruently, people will believe your intent.

A powerful means of making intent happen on purpose is to build a resource state for intent. The tool of building a resource state can be used to call into being any peak performance state, not just intent.

Step One: Introspect

Step Two: Attach a “trigger” to your internal experience (or state) of being congruent with your intent.

Fire the trigger, engage the state.

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