A VERY AMAZING Thursday. A woman I used to work for invited me to an interview at a bank because she knew I could sell like crazy. She needed to give a presentation to four women and I was there looking at the every move of them.
When we sat in the room, we waited for about 10 minutes and then came in 4 women: no handshakes, eye-contact, hello, anything. Everything was forced, and then I felt a knot in my stomach, “oh, this isn’t going to be good.”
My ex-colleague, without small talk or anything, went straight into a formal presentation. This is scary because if you want to get a client, you shouldn’t do any speaking — only listening. She spoke for a solid 15 minutes without feedback and I watched the women across the table. Two young generation and two older. One in particular was very fidgety. In the first three minutes, I felt her mind had left the room. She was playing with her papers, phone, and looked as if she wanted to walk out. I felt embarrassed.
My ex-colleague told me that she hadn’t gotten any special projects because the competition is stiff. However, I don’t believe in competition…..you’re your own competition, and let me break this down.
As someone who wants to be heard (the client), they should do the talking in the beginning. Who cares about you, your track record, or your accolades. They need help, and you’re supposed to help them.
For the first 15 minutes, they were disengaged. They were given a ton of papers, and to add insult to injury, they were given the price quote (face palming the shit out of myself at this very moment). So what does this sound like? a win-lose situation. She was doing everything so structurally that she forgot this is supposed to be a win-win situation. Hell with the money, tell me how you can help us! — is what I would’ve said.
In the end, I was able to ask them straightforward what they wanted.
See, instead of the presentation and given pre-courses, this is what she should’ve asked right out the gates, and that would’ve been a sure client. Because she didn’t, she was after the money and NOBODY likes money-grabbers because it’s a win-lose.
They opened up. They smiled. They laughed. She said, “what you guys have on the paper isn’t what we want.”
“It’s just the things that we offer,” I said. ” We create customizable courses for our clients to get maximum speed and cost from the training.”
Her eyes lit up.
Was it enough? Not sure, but if it was, it’s because I clarified expectations and everything in general.
Reaching the “sweet spot” in Clarify Expectations takes Integrity (being honest and courageous about setting expectations and communicating with others). It takes Intent to create expectations that represent a “win” for all involved. It takes Capabilities, including the ability to organize the elements of the agreement, to set up accountability, and to execute with excellence. And it takes the ability to identify the desired Results in a way that everyone involved understands.
– When you communicate with others, recognize that clarity is power. One way of checking to see if your communication has been clear is to “check for clarity” by asking a few simple questions.
1) What have you understood from this conversation?
2) As a result of our interaction, what do you see as your next steps? What do you see as mine?
3) Do you feel that others are clear regarding expectations?
4) What can we do to make things more clear?
– The next time you have a project at work, create a clear project agreement in advance. If you’re in charge, call everyone together and encourage them to express any ideas and concerns. Work to come up with a clear agreement that is realistic and represents a win for all stakeholders.