Since 2000, the customer has changed and no one has informed Corporate America. Clients do not act as quickly on recommendations and many in the sales professions complained that clients are harder to close. What was once easy was now becoming difficult. Top producers in every industry are finding business complicated and less enjoyable. The problem is not with the client, it goes back further, to the beginning of the relationship. There was no trust established. Businesses do not know what motivates their clients, they know the facts of their client's lives but not the feelings and motivations behind those facts. A relationship follows trust and is enhanced as the trust grows over time. We learn early to trust people based on what they do and not what they say. This was overlooked in the go-go years of the last quarter century. Facts superseded feeling. Information was king and who ever had the information was the most sought after person. Client relationships were established on cold calls. Direct solicitation worked and seminars worked even better. But once the roller coaster ride of the 1990’s was over clients began to reexamine whom they worked with and how the relationships were established. Many businesses came up short in the accounting.
Trust is established after a meaningful conversation. We understand this in our own experience if we look back to our dating years. A casual conversation may tweak a person’s interest, but no more. We must move beyond the surface and focus on the other person, not ourselves. This is the heart of the problem. When we examine most business conversations eighty to ninety percent of the conversation is about the interest of the business, it’s products and services, or directly about delivering solutions. Less than ten percent of the conversation is about the client, their life, issues, concerns, needs, or problems.
The old axiom says the one thing a person most wants to talk about is them self. Amazingly, the one thing businesses rarely let clients talk about is themselves. Herein lies the problem. The clients learn more about a business by what it does, rather than what it say. If a company focuses most of their conversations on them self, the clients clearly understand that the companies agenda is more important than theirs.