We’re human. If we can, we’ll default to instant gratification and quick fixes anytime. Sure, we might say otherwise, and if we’ve enjoyed any success in life, it has probably been from a patient, goal-focused vision. Still, if you are at all like me, your fondest memories relate to the “aha” instant when you reached your dreams/goals — that fleeting time of elation and accomplishment, earned through all of that earlier stuff.
Since our current and potential clients are also human, they presumably experience the same emotional drivers. This isn’t to suggest we are all alike in every way, but there are common themes that define humanity — and when we capture these in our marketing and business development strategies, we are far more likely to succeed.
Consider, for example, this rather important post from marketing consultant Mike Jeffries.
. . .if you really want to get more prospects to say yes you need to find out why they want to do a project.
People first make a decision to do something based on emotion and then back it up with logic.
So how do you find out why they want to do it?
Pretty easy really – here are a couple of questions to start asking.
- What made you decide to call us today?
- What are the primary reasons that you have decided to do this project?
Mike acknowledges the questions here are “what” not, “why” and explains — why you should ask them that way . . .
People don’t like Why questions – “Why did you do that? Why are you getting so upset?” – Why triggers a negative response and people start getting defensive so the best way to find out why someone wants to do something is start your questions with a what.
Ahh, the roundabout way to get to the straightforward destination. You, as Jeffries suggests, need to get to the emotional core of your potential clients’ thought-processes before you can do business; and you can only do that if you can get them to open up and tell you what they really are feeling. So, as Jeffries suggests, you need to ask the questions you need to ask in the correct manner.
This advice, of course, applies in the non-residential space as well, though the dynamics of understanding emotions is undoubtedly somewhat more complex and nuanced if you are dealing with a multiple-person committee evaluating proposals for a $50 million institutional building project. Here, you undoubtedly need to understand team and group as well as individual personality issues — including your own organization’s.
Who said this stuff is easy?