One thing I’ve really been working on for the past few years is listening. Listening to clients, staff, friends, leads, etc. More listening tends to lead to better results for everyone.
A place I’ve really noticed this is when talking to potential clients. The more I can just sit back and let them talk, the better our proposed solution is likely to be. There are often times early in the conversation where I think I haver an answer for that specific part of the problem, but wrapping it in a more comprehensive solution tends to work out better.
In his classic book SPIN Selling, author Neil Rackham touches on that a bit. He says:
“If you’re getting a lot of objections early in the call, it probably means that instead of asking questions, you’ve been prematurely offering solutions and capabilities.”
It’s a tough balance. I work hard to learn from experience so that I can recognize patterns and come up with solutions. However, jumping in too quickly is still a bad idea, and defaulting to “listen longer” never goes wrong.