So, sometimes no matter how hard you try, you still have one of those days. Perhaps you lose a teammate – a valuable one. Maybe you lose a sale – one you have been working on for a while. Maybe you lose a client – one that you have moved Heaven and earth to keep happy – to someone offering a lower price, fancy new bells and whistles, the latest whatever it may be. You rallied the troops around that teammate/sale/client, and you still lost. How do you react? Are you angry? Frustrated? Off your game?
I would ask two questions in a situation like this.
1. How strong was your relationship?
2. How well were you listening?
What do you think about when you think about the important relationships in your life? Can you picture the laughter, the way that person makes you feel when you are around them, the shared memories? Those are important parts of a relationship, true. But how many of those relationships have come and gone? What is different about the ones that have lasted years? One key difference is probably in the amount of hard work you’ve put into it – the ongoing attention you pay to that special person. Let’s face it. Some of the most important, maybe even most transformative, relationships you’ve ever had are long gone. The best friend, the first love. We’ve all done it. Perhaps we chalk it up to “outgrowing” it, we “learned what we were supposed to learn” and are better people. That’s great. But maybe it wasn’t just a phase. Maybe we didn’t pay enough attention, took that person for granted, or allowed too many excuses to get in the way of getting outside of our box. Getting uncomfortable. Getting vulnerable. Getting real. Maybe our relationship wasn’t as deep as we really thought it was. After all, if you really get down to the heart of any relationship and bust your buns to stay there, you can feel if something is drifting out of focus. You’re working with your head and your heart.
Then, there is the listening part of it. In any sales environment, we know we should be listening more than we speak. That’s a given. But what about those later stages of your relationship? When you’ve worked with a client for a long time, it’s natural that you get to know them. You care for their welfare and have a personal stake in their success. And once you have celebrated success, signed the client and developed that personal stake in it, there’s a danger of becoming too familiar… “Knowing” too much. You assume the next sale. You may talk too much because you are so comfortable, and you forget to listen. Needs change. If you are actively listening, always asking questions, keeping that relationship “new”, always working at it, then you’ll hear those cues that perhaps something isn’t quite right. It’s hard to hear those hints over the sound of your own voice though. It’s easy when you’re quiet… when you listen.
Even when you do your absolute best, you still will lose one here and there. But don’t forget to ask yourself if you really were doing your best after all. And on those days when you do lose one, remember to be grateful for everything in the win column. Now, make sure they stay there