“What’s the next thing you want them to do, and what’s the absolute smallest amount of information you could give them in order to make it happen?”
This is the topic of discussion I’ve been having with a sales-focused group of our Actionable Consultants*. We’re appreciating that we (all of us) have a tendency to talk too much. To try to explain too much. Whether it’s a first email, a first sales meeting or the third, way too often we try to pack in every piece of information we can. Less is more. If you think about it like dating, it becomes a lot more straight forward – no one wants to hear your entire life story on the first date. The person across the table form you wants dialogue, personality and low risk commitments. They’re assessing fit, and fit requires an equal meeting of two parties. “Seek first to understand”, said Covey. Words to live by, in sales as in life.
In the work context, we also want to avoid overwhelming people with information. Whether we’re training a new hire, engaging a new prospect or providing a project update to the boss, we need to respect the fact that people are busy, distracted by a million other things going on in their lives and, frankly, don’t really care about all the information you have in your head.
Drip feed. As needed.
And so we’re clear, this is not about being secretive or manipulative. This is about not dumping everything on them, and expecting them to work out what’s relevant, what’s not and when things should be done. “Transparently Limited” is my thought on it – tell them why you’re not telling them everything, and answer any questions that come up. Let them learn at their own speed; if they’re chomping at the bit, by all means! Just please don’t brain dump on everyone who happens to cross your path (he says, to himself). Everyone wins when you’re selective in what you share, when.
* Learn more about the Actionable Consultant Program. We’ve recently opened applications for our November virtual training class.
PS We have an exciting announcement to make next week. It may or may not involve Seth Godin, Chris Guillebeau, Pam Slim & Patrick Lencioni.
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