Talk about the local sports teams. What they do to relax,
I like to make my appointments just before lunch and then I ask.
Any good restaurants in this area?
When they tell me their favorite I invite them to join me.
I like to ask about them and I say out right. I like to get to know the people I am working with because when all is said and done business to me is about people. People matter the most. And if I can get to know them in the process of doing business i not only have made a good business deal I have made a friend. You don’t treat your friends bad. You care about them and you earn their respect and friendship. It makes business a better place.
Everyone likes doing business with people they know and trust.
In business you can be friends, negotiate respectably and hard at times if you feel strongly about something. In example I am an expert in several areas my clients are not, but they just don’t know what they don’t know. So they try to push my services into a box to be evaluated like other services they might be familiar with. My choice is to except the services under their terms knowing it will not preform the best and possibly fail. Or do I try to educate them on why we need to do something different.
I chose the latter because I want whats best for them. The challenge is in getting them to understand what I have to offer and why it is better.
Often I have to come out and ask “Isn’t this way you want to do business the same way you have been doing it for some time?” When they say yes I say “If you want different results something different has to be done.”
Or if I know they way they are doing business or want to do business has not given the best results. I tell them at the risk of losing the deal because if they are not going to listen to me now they wont listen to latter. latter is too late. I am the expert. I need to take the lead. If I am undermined early my whole project will suffer and so will the performance and they will just be upset at me latter. Even it was their fault to begin with.
In consulting too many times they will hire a person for their experience and expert advice but them try to force them into performing in a mode or with a process that they are familiar with. The problem is that most often it is this very reason why they are looking to hire someone. They want different better results but they are uncomfortable with unfamiliar processes.
The best way to handle this is to get to know them as people, appreciate them for who they are and what they want to accomplish. Connect with them first as people and let them know you understand their needs. This will help you presenting your solutions and your different approach will have a better chance at being accepted.
I hope this has helped. Contact me and share your comments.