Nowadays it is difficult to decipher a clear path through the haze of constant market changes and increasing urgencies each day brings. This difficulty comes with many hidden dangers. When your attention is divided then your direction divides with it, resulting in something similar to flying blind. The best insurance plan against flying blind is having the right conversations with the right people as a normal practice of running your business. How do you know you are doing this? If you don’t have a specific strategy for this there is a good chance you are not doing it. There is a big difference between our normal day-to-day conversations with clients and the ones that prevent blindness.
Three ingredients to avoid flying blind:
1: The right audience
Elevate your game, go as high in the client organization as possible. Height will bring clarity to the picture; it allows you to see the forest for the trees. Remember, Eagles fly with Eagles.
2: A specific strategy and plan for having these conversations
Discussions must focus on real business issues rather than the nuances of your solution… Do not lose site of your goal, you are there to gather information and gain insight. So take time to understand your client or prospects’ business and ask open ended, meaningful questions. For example I was reading an article “fill in the blank” and it said “whatever”, How does this impact your business? Then shut up and listen. To help you plan here’s a Conversation Strategy Cheat Sheet.
3: Time investment on your calendar
Show respect for your prospects willingness to meet with you by thoroughly planning the call, preparing an agenda and allocating sufficient time. By all means be punctual, if you are meeting somewhere other than their office say a restaurant plan ahead by making a reservation, allow time for traffic.
The most important part of this formula is to have a formula and to treat this process no differently than you would any other process vital to your business. Most blindness I see happens incrementally, as a result of repeatedly missing ques about how your clients are changing and where they are going. The good news is a few simple steps like those I have outlined above will assure your vision will remain clear and your decisions well informed by a few well planned conversations.