RAB Research Archive

Dig Deeper for Greater Understanding



My son Carver is in the second week of his internship in Austin, Texas. Last night, I asked him how he liked his job. “It’s good.” The one- or two-word answer may be typical for some, but it does not lead to greater understanding or appreciation of the details or the person.

In our work, we must dig deeper. We’ve often said that more sales are lost during the Customer Needs Analysis portion of the sales process than any other part of the process. This is because we don’t dig deep enough or ask our clients to elaborate.

Elaborate, a verb, means to reinforce, enhance, amplify and improve. Timber Hawkeye is the creator of the Buddhist Boot Camp Podcast. In his recent episode, he talks about the value of elaboration.

“We are taught a language, but we are not taught to communicate. Without elaborating, our conversations limit our connection to our own individual levels of understanding of ourselves and others.”

If we want to understand the clients with which we work, or the friends and family with which we communicate, we must ask for and give elaboration to our thoughts. Consider some standard answers to questions clients might give during a C.N.A. and how, without asking for elaboration, we may be missing out:

Q: How will you measure the success of this campaign?

A: Increased sales.

Elaboration: How much of an increase do you expect? What’s our baseline; where are we starting?

Q: Who are your best prospective customers?

A: Everyone really, but primarily those 25-54.

Elaboration: Can you give me some specific examples of your current best customers? How old are they, what is their lifestyle and what is their family dynamic?

Those are just two examples of seeking elaboration that will lead to greater understanding. For our purpose, the greater focus of the strategy will lead to better results. Getting Carver to elaborate is an ongoing battle, and maybe I’m not alone as a parent. Getting clients to elaborate can sometimes be equally challenging, but in both cases, we can never give up if we want a full and complete understanding of others.

Elaboration leads to understanding. When clients feel like we understand them they are more likely to want to work with us and take our advice.

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB





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