In gaining acceptance, matching what you are offering to what the listener is looking for is a fool-proof way to success.

This may be difficult because we have all been taught to provide solutions. It requires a mind wrenching shift from trying to provide the right solution to trying to define the right problem.

But how do you know what the listener is really looking for? Especially if they themselves may not know…and are looking for you to lead them.

It is so much easier if you let the listener lead you to where you should go before attempting to push them onto some idea or solution you are “selling”.

This means asking the right questions. If you ask your customer “what do you want?”, you will likely receive answers limited only to solutions they believe you already can do.

Instead, try switching to questions that probe for the underlying problems that might be lurking in behind the request. By asking “Why might you want to?” and “What’s stopping you from…?” frequently to further clarify objectives and hold backs (which may be hidden beneath the surface). These revelations can open much more room for creativity, many new ideas and options. By practicing, “reversing your field”, this will improve your skills in problem defining and framing and let the solutions fall into place.

Minsight : Next chance you get, try engaging your customer in conversation about the challenges they are facing in their work. We call this fact finding . Listen carefully, clarifying as you go, and begin working together to agree on some interesting “How might we .?“ challenges . Only then let the conversation flow toward some optional ways forward you might be able to help with. Let us know how well it worked.

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