Try a new seat to gain a fresh perspectiveWritten by Tom Richard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Arriving at a coffee shop I had been to a thousand times before, I was slightly perturbed when I noticed my regular seat was occupied. Noticing that the person I was there to meet had already reserved a different table, I grabbed a new chair as we shook hands and went through the regular early-morning greetings.
As I settled into my unfamiliar seat, I couldn’t shake how different everything looked. It was as if I was visiting the coffee shop for the first time.
As I looked to my left, I noticed some colorful chairs pressed up against the wall with some interesting paintings hanging above them. As the owner walked up to greet me, I smiled as I commented that I liked the new additions to her shop. She laughed as she pointed out the pieces had been in her shop since the day she opened some 18 months earlier.
Pleasantly shaking my head, I chuckled confidently, “No they haven’t. I would have noticed them.” As she assured me that they had, my guest chimed in and pointed out that he had noticed them the last time we had met there. Utterly confused at that point, I contemplated the chairs and artwork, wondering if it was a joke or if I had truly missed something so prominent for 18 months and thousands of visits.
How could I have been there so many times and not have noticed something that appeared so obvious to me at that moment?
It dawned on me that I must not have noticed them because I literally sat in the same seat every time I visited. By sitting in a new seat that morning, I noticed things that had always been right there in the room, just never before seen by my eyes. My linear vision, created by the beeline I had made to my regular seat each time I had previously visited the shop, had finally been corrected without help from glasses, contacts or lasers.
In fact, there are always things sitting in the room that we don’t notice because we grow accustomed to seeing things in a certain way. While the obvious instances occur for the visual items, conversational objects can also hide just below our radar when we are talking to our customers.
As we go through our daily routines and talk to dozens of customers each and every day, we find ourselves looking at the conversation the same way each and every time. These routines create comfortable levels of sameness that hide the most important elements of a conversation. If you talk to a dozen customers who each have a similar story, it is only natural to project that same situation into your 13th conversation. If you multiply your many years of working in the same job, the degree of sameness only grows stronger.
Whether you are trying to make a sale or you are trying to solve a customer-service problem, discovering all of the information is always the most important aspect of a successful conversation. The only way you are going to uncover all of the information you need is if you have the eyes and ears to notice everything in the room.
Make the conscious effort to clear the palate in between conversations so you do not carry over remnants from the last person you talked to, from your personal experience, or from any other factor that may skew your ability to navigate the conversation skillfully.
Taking another seat in your daily conversations will give you the opportunity to have a fresh perspective and will uncover new items you would have otherwise missed. As you discover these new elements, you will swear they were just put there. However, the truth is they have always been there. They have always been sitting there in the room staring at you, simply waiting for you to notice them.
Tom Richard is a Toledo-based sales trainer, gives seminars, runs sales meetings and provides coaching for salespeople. For more information, visit www.TomRichard.com, call (419) 441-1005 or e-mail email@example.com.