According to the Urban Dictionary, the latest hip phrases flying off our tongues are expressions of extreme agreeance meaning, “I feel you” or “I get it” and are used to affirm that you can relate to the preceding statement.
But I hear this response being used so fast and furious it got me wondering… Did that person even hear what I had to say, or did they just spit out a wickedly cool response? It seems to me there’s a fine line between agreeing and understanding.
Which made me wonder even further… If a flip response is all the rage these days, how well are we communicating we “get it”, when it comes to responding to our clients? Do we communicate in a way that tells them we understand their business problem or is it all just totally sick lip service?
My point is not to knock the use of slang. In fact, I’m quick to adopt a bit of fun and trendy rhetoric but the old adage, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.”, couldn’t be more “right on!” than right now. In a time when the buyers of our services are increasingly more price sensitive and buried with competitive options to choose from, how well prepared are you to demonstrate you feel their pain and are therefore best qualified to offer a solution that truly solves their problem?
Well, I can tell you want doesn’t work. No one is willing to pay top dollar for the services of a subject matter expert whom they don’t “buy into” from the get-go. I mean, in today’s society we’re fickle and ADD enough already, right? If you can’t earn someone’s trust and gain credibility right out of the gate, GAME OVER. How well do you articulate the value you bring? Does it come off as energized and sincere or flat and disingenuous?
Sales people continuously get a bad rap for being disingenuous. Unfortunately, they are at odds right out of the gate because who wants to talk to a person who’s paid to push their services on you, right? As a seasoned sales professional myself, I admit that I’m the last person who wants to be “sold to” but it’s not because I’m afraid I might just buy under pressure – it’s because I can’t bear to witness another painful process the poor sales guy, that got stuck selling to me, will have to go through!
As business owners of consultancies, we’re equally as guilty. Our time IS money and even though we too “wear the sales hat”, we cannot afford to NOT be thinking about utilization rates and billable hours. But didn’t we hang out our shingle with the genuine intention of serving other people/businesses? So how do we go about getting the energy and the value that we bring back into the pitch of the service offering?
Next time you find yourself responding to your client, instead of pretending to feel their pain, try restating what they just told you and see how close you are. How well can you re-articulate the things that keep your client up at night? Without this understanding, how do you intend to arrive at the best solution to solve their problem?
When you’re able to free yourself of disingenuousness, the opportunities find YOU. Here are some actions that can help…
- Demonstrate you understand by restating what you heard and verifying your accuracy
- Communicate with sincerity to avoid the trap of assumed intimacy, sweet-talking or fake knowledge
- Mold your communication style to match individual situations
- Earn credibility by interacting with poise and polish in every situation
- Increase your “A”ffectiveness* by listening and gathering information before adding your own bias or judgment
- Articulate your value with energy and sincerity
Douglas Adams, an English writer and dramatist once said, “To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.”
Right on, Doug!
*The ESM Group offers one-on-one “Affectiveness CoachingSM”.
Elizabeth “Eli” Mansfield
Activator } Strategic } Futuristic } Ideation } Woo
Founder and Principal Business Development Consultant
The ESM Group