I recently called internet providers to get quotes for internet at our new house. When the call connected with one provider, the salesperson almost immediately asked what internet provider I was currently using. After telling him our situation, he proceeded to cite all the reasons why their internet was better than the provider I had and to list off all the features they offered. All I was thinking was "Look dude, I just want to know how much it’ll cost. We’ll talk specs later." Based on his approach, it seemed like he was thinking, "I just want this sale." His spiel was entirely one-sided and leaned towards his intended outcome—me giving them money. "Well, guess what? You sure aren’t getting my money!" I decided and promptly hung up on that guy.
Every day is made of interactions with the people surrounding us, no matter where we are—work, home, or any other place we go. The interaction may be as small as a nod to someone passing by, or as long as a three-hour conversation with a friend. In any case, every interaction is essentially a transaction. The person nodding to a passerby may do so to help others recognize them as friendly, or to build confidence. The friends speaking for three hours may be seeking gossip material, or just wanting to get things off their chest. No one just talks to talk—there is always something that we are wanting to get out of the conversation. In business, this is usually money. That may sound harsh, but ultimately, it’s the bottom line. So what then is the secret to getting what you want out of the conversation? Just five simple words:
Give them what they want.
This may sound counterintuitive initially, but in reality, it is only counterintuitive if you are working with robots. Real conversations happen with people, which makes them somewhat volatile. When you focus on helping the other person get what they want, they are more likely to be open and willing to give you what you want. Not convinced? Think about the last frustrating salesperson that you spoke with and consider the experience.
Not long after speaking with the self-interested salesperson, I called another provider intending to learn about their service. "I’m not letting this guy try to strong arm me like the last one," I thought.
"Thanks for calling. How can I help you today?" the pleasant-voiced salesman asked.
"I just want to know how much your internet will be each month," I said.
He then told me exactly what it was, without questions. ‘Finally, someone willing to just give me the price!’ As I explained the situation, the salesperson continued to tell me how their service could or could not give me what I was looking for. It seemed that all he cared about was helping me find the best fit for my needs. Now I don’t believe that his intentions were too much different from those of the first sales guy—he still wanted my money. However, by approaching the conversation from the perspective of helping me find what I was searching for, I didn’t care what his intentions were since my needs were met.
My time at Lucid Software has helped me to know that the "one size fits all" tactic, or the "we are better than them" tactic only frustrates the clients because it satisfies only our side of the transaction. Lucidchart is a unique platform that may or may not fit the needs of those we work with, and that’s okay. I have learned when interacting with our clients that by first helping them, they help me. Rather than giving them reasons why they need Lucidchart, they tell me why they are looking for a diagramming software, and we discuss whether or not Lucidchart is the right fit. Rather than telling them what problems Lucidchart can solve, they give me the problems and we work together to see how Lucidchart can meet their needs. The sooner that I find out what they want, the sooner I can help them get it, which makes them more inclined to help me get what I want.
What does this mean for you? It means changing your focus to meeting the needs of customers rather than selling products. With this focus, the worst case scenario is that the person you are working with has a pleasant experience talking to you. This is the foundation of a positive relationship which will make customers more willing to work with you. So remember, it’s not about what you get, it’s about what they get.