I have a 3 year old daughter. Her name is Evelyn and she is a determined, bright and happy child. But like all 3 year olds when she has her mind set on something it becomes the only focus.
One afternoon she had her mind set on chips. Seeing no issue with this I went and filled a bowl with some chips.
There was my beautiful, smart and now … quite energized and stubborn daughter. She decided that these were not the chips she had pictured and decided to let me know that. Of course in the best possible way a 3 year old could.
Now as a parent I have a choice. Frankly, I will never know if it is the right one, but I am faced with deciding if I acknowledge what I know is true…. That I made a mistake or just tell her these are chips. EAT THE CHIPS.
Well, I was on my best patience game that day as I had recently just worked through an account management training and it reminded me: This wasn’t her mistake. She in this case was my clients. She said chips. In her head she knew exactly what she wanted. I failed to deliver .. this was a me problem not a her problem.
What does this mean for you? How do I avoid this next time?
All too often, sales, operations, account management .. ALL OF US … allow words to be used without agreed upon definitions. Without digging past the vagueness to ensure what we hear is what they see in their head.
Had I only asked what type of chips she wanted I would have been a much better dad that day.
If we stay away from mind reading, stay away from using vague words and do our jobs which means to ask questions when clients use vague words we will serve those around us better.
Simply put, the one step you can take today is this:
Approach every conversation with a beginner's mindset
What does this mean? Go in knowing that you don’t know everything. Go in with a seek to understand approach. Believe that unless the client states it clearly you can’t serve their best interest. Treat each situation as if it is your first time there because it is.
If you go in with the beginner’s mindset you will run at the vague words that can have multiple definitions.
Become a beginner today and tomorrow you will have more satisfied clients.