About three years ago, I saw a blog by Michael Oliver which made a big impression. He’s not in my line of business. However, the article encapsulates one of the important philosophies of a business like mine. It’s not enough to make assumptions; it’s important to delve a bit deeper and find out how to really render service.
As a conscientious, professional civil celebrant, I like to give value, and listening is one of the most important things I can do, to help my clients have the ceremony of their dreams.
Here it is:
Do You REALLY Understand?
There is a story that a farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups and nailed it to a post on the edge of his yard.
As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls.
He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.
“Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”
“Well,” said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back off his neck, “These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”
The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.
“I’ve got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”
“Sure,” said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. “Here, Dolly!” he called. Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur.
The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.
Slowly another little ball appeared this one noticeably smaller.
Down the ramp it slid.
Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up….
“I want that one,” the little boy said, pointing to the runt.
The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”
With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe. Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “You see sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”
The world is full of people who need someone who understands.
Do You Understand?
Do you make the effort to really understand the people you’re talking with… or are you like that well meaning but narrowly focused farmer, thinking conventionally and…
- Assuming your potential customers are looking for the same things as you and for the same reasons… instead of asking and finding out?
- Telling people what they should do, instead of getting the facts first and allowing them to tell YOU what they want?
- Interpreting everything based on your own life’s experiences and point of view, instead of first discovering theirs?
- Qualifying them based on your own rigid and fixed set of criteria, instead of being open to discovering far reaching potential possibilities?
- Judging people based only on what you think you see, instead of no judgment at all?
There is a happy ending to this story…
With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup. Holding it carefully he handed it to the little boy.
“How much?” asked the little boy.
“No charge”, answered the farmer, “There’s no charge for love.”
The farmer was a quick learner!
About the Author
Michael Oliver is an internationally recognized trainer, speaker and author and the founder of Natural Selling, the only sales training program designed to really eliminate rejection and objections. Visit his blog and signup free to get blog updates by email, along with the latest news, free advice, additional resources, and a lot more! Go now to http://michaeloliver.com. While you’re at it, check out and get loads more.http://www.naturalselling.com.
Thank you, Michael, for making me – and perhaps some of my readers – stop and think!