22 Apr A Good Talker
A Good Talker
Listening comes first (see last week’s blog). But listening will only take us so far. There comes a time when we have to take what we’ve heard, what we’ve learned and what we know, then combine them with what we need to get done. That requires the ability to educate, influence then persuade someone else to take the action we are advocating.
Years ago, as a trainee at Procter & Gamble, a communications model was hardwired into my brain. I’ve remembered it and used it for lo these many years since. I didn’t have to go back to a dusty old training manual to resurrect it. It’s called “SIHBC”. I’m going to give you an overview of the SIHBC paradigm here in this one page blog, although we were trained on its nuances for weeks and weeks – and the training never ended.
Situation – The initial task is to accurately describe the situation being faced – whether it be a problem to be solved or an opportunity to be grasped. We have to reach agreement at this stage or there’s no point in proceeding. To ensure we’re aligned, often the transition sentence to the next phase sounds something like this, “So if I could show you a way to (solve the problem / seize the opportunity) would you be interested?”
Idea – This is often the hard part to grasp because it seems aggressive to boldly bring it up so early in the discourse – but we immediately offer up the specific action we are advocating. This is usually one sentence and it is delivered succinctly (even while the other party is still nodding their head “yes”, in answer to the transition question above. “My (idea / recommendation / suggestion / solution etc.) is that you ….”
How It Works – Often, this will be the longest part of the interchange. The roadmap to get from here to there has to be fully prepared and explained – including anticipating likely questions and objections. This is also where price and key terms are revealed. One good way to think about this section is to fully answer “Who does what, when and where and for how much?”
Benefits – This answers the prospect’s naturally occurring question, “What’s in it for me?” We can probably think of half a dozen or more answers to this question, but the chances are that only the top one or two are going to get the job done. Usually one of them will address return on investment – as it should. Less is more here and effective listening is our guide.
Close – Books have been written about the subject of closing. We can offer a choice of positive alternatives, offer to take a furthering action ourselves – anything but pose a multiple choice question where one of the options is to say “no”. I’d like to write a book reminding people that they actually have to do it – close the deal – ask for the order. Our preferred close is to suggest “an easy next step”.
At Tenacity, we utilize this model as a component of our curriculum “Selling From The Inside™” where we work with our attendees at The Tenacity Center (http://clientretention.com/the-center) to help them be more successful at cross-selling add-on services to their existing clients. At home, I still use it from time to time to get my wife’s blessing to play golf with my buddies on Saturday morning. (I’m planning to use it for a new driver soon.)
So – if we combine great listening with great talking — What else is there? We’ll talk about that next week.
Steve & John