I want to offer a bit of my professional specialty: helping people develop and maintain fulfilling relationships. My desire is that as you read this article you be able to identify and define some of the things that you are already doing well, build on what you do, and develop some new perspectives and tools to consider adding to your toolbox. From this, I want to build my network of referral sources, and get some feedback on some of the needs I can address in my profession.
Establishing Positive Expectations and Customer Satisfaction From the Start
In sales presumptive questions are used in closing: The assumptive or presumptive close is when a salesperson intentionally assumes that the prospect has already agreed to buy, and wraps up the sale. “Just pass me your credit card and I’ll get the paperwork ready.”
In therapy presumptive questions are used in opening: The presumptive opening asks the client to imagine that therapy is effective and that they have already achieved their desired state.
You might be asking your customers: Imagine that this in the next few days you found the perfect house, how would you know it was the perfect house (what would you see, how would life be different).
So that you can benefit from the experience of this technique, I encourage you to allow me to walk you through the process. So before reading on please take a moment to answer the following question ( because I am not interacting with you in person you will have the better results if jot down your answers for reference, be as detailed as you can, use positive statements such as I will vs. I wont).
Imagine that you have read this article and overnight it improved your life, when you wake up in the morning, and throughout your day, week you begin to notice things are different. How will you know that reading this article was responsible for the improvement? What differences will you notice, what differences will your customers notice about you? What will your family and friends notice about you, and what will you be telling yourself?
In answering the questions for yourself you may have noticed a marked change in your perception and attitude.
How is it that these questions can be so powerful?
- The question, used in the initial stage of the interaction and leads customers in a positive direction.
- The question conveys that the customer knows what they want and has the power to decide what valuable to them.
- The question empowers the customer giving them unique choices that are personal to them.
- The question is time sensitive, implying that the desired state will occur sooner than later and they will recognize it.
- The question implies that the sales person will have the ability to meet the clients needs.
- The question acts on a neurobiological level, increasing the clients perceptions to notice the things they are looking for (rather than reacting to what they do not want).
- The question implies that the product or service is more than a purchase. It will make a notable difference in their lives.
- The question opens opportunities for you to connect to your client: “I think I am with you, it sounds like you would like for people to be more trusting of you”.
Challenging Customers: How to Make Positive Contact
The Nay Sayer
The nay sayer is the customer who is fluent in telling you what it is he or she doesn’t want, or like, or need. In my field of work where the majority of clients I see are hurting, or distressed, I encounter many individuals and couples that are more familiar with what they don’t want, or what is missing. I enjoy opening up possibilities and new perspectives with these clients by asking them to consider what their partner might be doing instead. What they might be doing instead.
The Vague Communicator
The Vague Communicator does not have a clear idea of what it is he or she wants. There is a general sense of wanting what everyone wants, making it difficult for the customer to find satisfaction. Imagine a baby who wants to be comfortable but has no idea how to say if he needs a diaper change, or a bottle. In my practice, I help clients to become aware and express themselves authentically. Without effective self expression, people become lost in the background. One of the tools I use to help clients communicate past that ambiguous fogs is the word “imagine”. I might ask them to imagine a movie projector is playing, or a fly is on the wall, what would it look like, sound like, feel like or what would you hear yourself saying.
The Non Committal Communicator appears cautious. He or she answers the presumptive questions by prefacing them with I don’t know, or tentative words like maybe, I guess. I have found that often clients do know, and they are sure. Habitually saying, “I don’t know” or dismissing true desires by not considering them, is common. The key is to reduce the focus on the dismissive non-committal communications is to acknowledge it without the qualifiers. Given the statement, ” uh, I don’t know, maybe I would get a sales award” is acknowledged with, ” Oh, so you will know that this article was meaningful and that your life was improving because you would get an award.”
Application: As you where answering the questions I gave you earlier you may have noticed that you it was easier to write what was not present (ie: I wont be feeling rejected, I wont feel like I am spinning my wheels). Read through your answers, if you listed some of the negative statements, try to identify the statement’s alternative (ie: if I am not feeling rejected what will I be feeling instead? or If I am not feeling like I am spinning my wheels; what will I be feeling instead)
If you wrote, “I will feel more confident” amend this vague response by asking yourself , “What would it look like, feel like, sound like. How would people know I was more confident? (would you boast more, would you stand straighter, would you project your voice more)”.
If you look at your list and see any non-committal language, simply erase them and re-read the committed positive message. If your list is could be longer. Say to yourself, I do know what else would be different, and see what new ideas come to you when you open yourself up to knowing.
How is this Interaction Powerful?
- “Imagine” is a word that accesses the creative and sensory areas of the brain
- The interaction allows you to have a better idea of your customer
- Your customer will create an image in his or her brain that will open up his or her mind to the possibility of being satisfied
- Having a unique picture of how the client sees satisfaction gives you more information about how you can help
- This encounter facilitates a momentary connection as you are telling the client you want to know them
- It connects the right brain’s fantasy, feelings, and possibilities which can increase the perceived value of the item or services
Getting Your Customer to Close the Deal: A Scaling Question Closes Deals Naturally
As a therapist, my goal is to help the client to determine his or her readiness to close. My go to tool for this is “Scaling questions”. These are questions that quickly asses how the client is doing, how much progress they are making toward closure of satisfaction, and what can be done to get a step closer to the desired state they described in the beginning. The majority of the time between the fist question and the scaling question is spent exploring all the ways that they have already experienced the imagined state. I preface the scaling question with all of the positive things that they have identified in session. Then I ask, “On a scale of 1 to 10 ten being you are where you imagined you could be, where are you now?” The key is responding to the answer positively by saying, “Ok you are at a three, what made it a three?” The second part of the response is, “What would make it a five?”
Application: Now that you have read the looked at how your life would improve by reading this article, now look back at your list. You may have noticed that you have seen glimpses the signs on your list already. (You may have experienced them in the past, or even recently) Think about each of the listed items and how you already have seen glimpses of their presence.. Now, on a scale of 1 to 10 where would you say you with having your “life improve”. How did you get that number? What one thing can you do this week that will move your number up on or two notches.
Why Scaling is Powerful
- Scaling has a built-in positive response.
- The customer’s attention is on how their needs are being met.
- The commitment moves the customer closer to closing “What would need to be in place to make this a 10?”
- It gives you an opportunity to see how much closer you are at the sale.
- The customer is engaged and thinking about the expectation that they will get what they want.
A Personal Note on Closing:
I started this article with by expressing my desire to help readers to acknowledge and build on their strengths. I also wanted to provide some new perspectives and tools that would be meaningful and useful. I wanted to build my network of referral sources, and get some feedback on some of the needs I can address in my profession. I encourage you to consider some of the relationship building techniques written here in your personal life.
I have already seen some of these things happen, and I haven’t even published this blog.
Application: Please, remember to comment or pass this blog along to someone who would benefit from the information. I welcome your feedback. I am glad to answer any questions you may have you may use the contact form on this page or click on:
How will I know that I have made these contributions?
- I will have comments opening up a dialog
- I will have likes and shares of this page
- I will have clients who will cite my blog as a referral
- I will have new LinkedIn requests