Learning With My Clients
Who knows what you don't?
POSTED BY JACKY SHERMAN ON 22/11/2017 @ 8:00AM
I had a lovely email this week from Martin Beckley. Martin is one of my latest clients, a graphic designer of many years, but new to running his own business and feeling lost in how to generate his own clients ...
I'm often learning with my clients and enjoy helping to open their eyes further!
copyright: olegdudko / 123rf stock photo
In the email he said, "In answer to one of your questions 'Is your business facing in the right direction?' I wrote, 'Not sure because I think my eyes are closed.' I know that was only the second session, but I do feel as if you are slowly opening my eyes - thank you."
"After reading this email I know
he's going to do just fine!"
He has two essential ingredients for success, the humility to admit he doesn't know what he doesn't know and the willingness to find out. I'm going to enjoy opening his eyes even wider!
In return, he gave me a new awareness of the power of the coaching questions I ask. If I'm brutally honest I ask that question in an exercise I undertake so often it had become routine for me.
I recently met with another new consultant straight out of corporate life and suffering from a crisis in confidence on entering the world of the small business owner. He knows his stuff, but realised that he doesn't know his audience. As he put it, "How do I add value? I don't know what they know and what they don't know". We'll find out together who needs to know what he knows and is willing to pay to find out.
Contrast this with another consultant who came on one of my introductory courses last year. I remember it well because he is the only person I have ever had who complained he didn't learn anything from the session.
My first reaction was that as he offers marketing services himself, then it was somewhat re-assuring for his customers that he already knew the basics of marketing. My second reaction was to ponder what had made him come to my workshop? The cynic in me thought he was simply eyeing up the competition, in which case he learnt that we shared the same principles.
However, an off-the-cuff remark after the session gave away his real reason. He was frustrated that he gave and gave and gave to other people, but most never gave back to him. What I hadn't done in that short session was address this particular phenomenon for him.
That reminded me of another rather more perceptive client who qualified a similar response to that workshop referring to it as "the blindingly obvious I haven't been doing" Still my favourite quote. What I teach appears quite simple, but mastering the skills and capturing the nuances necessary to build referral relationships is more difficult.
"Returning to my disgruntled participant, further questioning revealed that yes, he knew the principle of Givers Gain®!
What he hadn't grasped was the subtlety around it. His demeanour in business and in networking was as the "one who knows the answers, the one who can distribute his largesse".
Yes, he did ask for referrals in return, but as an expectation of reciprocation. What he didn't show was the humility to acknowledge others had knowledge and resources he didn't have and that he needed help from them too. The difference between "Can you introduce me to X?" and, "Can you help me with an introduction to X?" To be fair that particular insight did not, at that time, feature in my workshop. My learning from his feedback was to add it in!
To sum up, my tip for you (and for me) is to be confident that we have something to offer others that will open their eyes to new possibilities. Equally, there is an awful lot we are not even aware that we don't know. Have the humility to ask for help and others may surprise and delight you.
"Works for me!"
For more tips on how to find out what you don't know, read Networking Skills For Your Team: Part 3 - What Skills? and if you'd like to learn more, call me on 07970 638857 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.
Until next time ...
More about Jacky Sherman ...
I help people build and maintain productive working relationships both with their work colleagues and with a wider network to win more business. I do this by combining my skills in coaching, mediation and training with my extensive experience in senior management.
What I love most about my work is when my clients get those â€œahaâ€ moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forward. Then they will achieve their ambitions.
Helping people who are having challenges with their working relationships gives me enormous pleasure. It was my privilege when working in health care to see how people working together can make the impossible seem easy and accomplish miracles as a result.
So helping people build or restore strong relationship with their colleagues makes even the hardest work easier, alleviates distress for the individual and reduces problems for the whole organisation.
In all this work trust is an essential ingredient to winning business so most of my work comes through referrals. Referrals come through strong business relationships so it was a natural extension for me to work with Ascentiv and train others in how to get consistent and predictable referrals from their network.
What a fantastic way to earn a living!
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