By Dickie Sykes

Years ago, I watched the Dr. Phil McGraw show and he said “If you are going to sell things that Betty buys, you better see life through Betty’s eyes.” I never forgot it and if you’re in business, neither should you. Researchers Colleen Butler and Paul Chinowsky identified the interpersonal skill of empathy as one of five key emotional intelligent behaviors that need additional attention during the development of executives. To be empathetic is to understand the emotions of others; to walk in another person’s shoes. To continually grow your business, you must seek to understand the needs of your customers and see life through their eyes. If you were sitting on the other side of that desk what would you want to hear? You would want to hear the benefit of the product or service, what sets it apart from its competition and its value to your organization. Abraham Lincoln said, “When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking about what they want to hear and one third of the time thinking about what I want to say.” Based on your customers’ needs, challenges and products, what do you think they want to hear?

Before you show up for your next business meeting take time to research who the client is, what they do and how you can service them. Whatever you do, don’t focus on problems, have a solutions focused mindset on how you can help your clients achieve their goals. Coaching psychologists Dianne Stober and Anthony Grant found that having a solutions focused mindset enables people to access and use the wealth of personal experience, skills, expertise and intuition that resides within all of us. With that mindset, determine the goal of the meeting and what action you want to happen. A goal expressed plants a seed in your client’s mind and with the right action plan can grow. Action planning is the process of developing a systematic means of attaining goals. This is extremely important let me tell you why.

When you show up with a goal and action plan, the conversation has structure like a good speech, it has a beginning, middle and end. You are not floundering; you know what you want from the client and the action needed to get it. Your client may not know the action needed. It is not their responsibility to know how to get you what you want but with a goal and plan, they are more likely to discover during the course of conversation ways in which they can be of assistance. The best goals will fall by the wayside without a concrete plan of action. You should create mind mapping exercises at your office based on mock client responses. This gives you direction and ideas on what you can say to keep the conversation flowing towards the goal.

Finally, be your authentic self; No one likes someone who comes off as disingenuous or fake. It’s bad, bad business. High-performing salespersons are significantly more self-aware and authentic (which is a function of emotional intelligence) than low-performers. On the day of your meeting show up wearing confidence and have points in your discussion that excite you, points that you are passionate about and let that enthusiasm shine through. Deliver your ideas with commitment and passion and remember to remind your face that you are excited about what your team can bring to the table. The conversation should have rhythm let your voice rise and fall throughout your presentation so the conversation doesn’t come off flat, monotone and emotionless. Make direct eye contact, smile and ask for their business. Before you leave the meeting ask the client if there are any next steps, anything you can do to make their decision easier. After that, you can leave knowing you arrived prepared, seeing life through Betty’s eyes.


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