Here is a scene we can all relate to. You need something, let’s say it’s business insurance. A friend gives you an agent recommendation. You and the agent exchange emails and a text and agree to meet for lunch to discuss your needs.
Five minutes into the lunch meeting, you realize that you’ve made a mistake. Why? As soon as you sat down, the agent pulled out sales material and a sample contract. Before you could even order a sandwich, he told you all about how wonderful his firm is and how much people love them. Oh, and by the way, your “timing is great.” Why? If you sign up today, you can get 15% off your first year’s annual premium, but only if you sign up today.
Your brain is in escape mode. You count the seconds until you can politely disengage. The agent will not stop talking – about his company, his products, his life. He never even asks about your business beyond a cursory review. You look at your phone, lie, and say, “I’ve got an urgent call I have to take, so I need to end our lunch early. Thanks for the material, I’ll get back with you.” You excuse yourself and leave. You’re miffed because you just wasted an hour of your time, and you still have not filled your insurance needs.
Sad, right? The agent might have had (and probably did) just what you needed. You’re frustrated and unhappy. No doubt you’ll complain to your friend about this mini-disaster too. Heavy sigh…
Tell the truth. We’ve all been both the agent and prospect in this scenario (to one degree or another). If only there was a better approach, a philosophy, a system, an App that could help us develop sustainable, meaningful relationships. There is, and it’s called Contact Mapping.
In their book, The Coffee Shop Interview, Tom and Adrian Chenault discuss how to build authentic relationships by finding out as much about the other person in a way that leaves them feeling understood and affirmed. You’ll learn the six principles of putting genuine emphasis on others. When the time comes to present your idea, you base your message on what the prospect says, not on your sales pitch.
You can put these powerful ideas to work in Contact Mapping’s App. The App allows you to implement the discipline of recording a few essential details about each interaction you have with someone and setting a reminder for your next touchpoint. The Chenault’s stress that follow up is the key. Establishing rapport is the goal so the other person will appreciate hearing from you again.
Sounds simple, right? Almost like “common sense”? But think about it for a second. How often do you really apply these ideas? Do you even know how to do this systematically? To do so requires training and an effective way to organize your efforts. Contact Mapping is not a method designed to produce “happy chats” that lead nowhere. Instead, it is a powerful sales tool built on the rock-solid premise that when your interest in your customer’s needs becomes a genuine expression of who you are, your business flourishes.
True confession – I’ve been that business insurance agent one too many times in my decades-long business career. The Chenault’s philosophy is based on listening and empathy, and it rings true. This old Bear benefited by the reminder to listen before responding. Check out Contact Mapping and take your business and personal relationships to the next level.