A customer is just BEGINNING to explain what they want and what they need, and already you are formulating the solution in your head. Sound familiar? Effective product training can actually over-prepare us for some customer interactions. We have an answer—possibly the wrong one—at the ready before our customer can reasonably expect us to provide it. Time and again we do this, either subconsciously or outwardly, as evidenced by a premature answer.
Years ago, Carew International surveyed over 30,000 sales professionals throughout a variety of industries and across multiple cultures, and determined that the “Odds Are” 2 to 1 that sales people experience a customer’s communication in their own reality, not the customer’s.
More recently, Dr. Michael Shermer, monthly columnist for Scientific American and author of The Believing Brain (Times Books, 2011), described the human brain as a “belief engine,” in which sensory information is absorbed, examined for patterns and assigned meaning from the available patterns. In other words, a natural process causes us all to quickly perceive our own individualistic versions of reality. What we understand is based on previously learned patterns, to which we assign meaning and vigorously support and defend against any opposition.
This filtering of communications through our personal reality is a fact of human nature and one we must constantly resist. Otherwise, we will misread our customers while giving off signals they may perceive as judgmental or hostile. Enter the LAER Bonding Process – Listen, Acknowledge, Explore and Respond – to counteract this self-preoccupation and help us truly understand, appreciate and resolve customers’ problems.
Investing in the relationship by moving beyond our own “Odds Are” will reward our customers as well as each of us individually!
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