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Do YOU know what YOU should do? Do you know what YOUR problem is? It’s simple, YOU don’t know what YOU are doing in sales. I can fix it for YOU. I can make all YOUR problems go away. I know what YOU should do.
So, are you sold yet? Do you even want to read further in this article?
Even if every fiber of your being is begging you to tune out right now, I implore you to stick with me for a second.
Ask yourself: How does it feel to read that intro? Do you feel judged? Does it make you want to open up or does it make you want to shut down? Am I making unfair assumptions? Am I promising a solution before understanding the problem? Do you feel ready to confide in me? Do you even remotely like me at this point or are you just buying time until the comments section comes into view for your blazing response to this blog post?
One of the most powerful changes I ever made in my professional career is changing how I talk with people, how I share ideas, how I challenge my peers and how I coach my team. It started with an entrepreneurial group called EO (Entrepreneurs Organization). Local entrepreneurs are put into small forums to meet monthly and there is training to participate.
The most important part of training is teaching entrepreneurs not to give advice. Why? Because it breaks relationships, plain and simple. When giving advice, I leave someone with only a couple options. Either they take my advice and now I’m to blame if it doesn’t work out. Better cross my fingers! Or, they don’t take my advice and I’m forever in a position to say “I told you so.” Neither is appealing for either side of the relationship.
It wasn’t long ago I met a fellow high performing female out for drinks. We were learning about each other for the first time. As we talked, I felt more and more comfortable and we started sharing deeper stuff.
As our conversation flowed, I shared more about a dynamic happening in my family at the time. The next time we met up, the first words out of her mouth were “do you know what you should do…?” Not a single question was asked. No update was provided. Her advice was based on 5 minutes of sharing from a conversation 3 weeks earlier.
I started to realize that a single word was at the heart of advice giving vs. experience sharing: YOU. I began a mission to eliminate this word. As I marched down this path, I made a promise to myself to offer insights based on facts, truths and experiences.
By offering these insights, people opened up! They shared more, and they had a choice in whether they wanted to relate to my sharing or not. I was still able to guide, direct and lead, but in a more purposeful way. I found it built more trust when I could explain what worked for another person.
That being said, we’re left with 2 very important questions: When are “You’s” okay? And when are “you’s” NOT okay?
When are “You’s” ok?
When setting an appointment. It’s kind of important to be able to talk about someone’s actual calendar. No amount of experience sharing will ever determine that person’s availability.
When asking questions. It’s ok to personalize a question as long as it’s not a leading question or an assumptive question. Yes, I dropped a lot of these early in the article to serve as examples.
When using it intentionally. The problem is that most sales people don’t realize how often they use YOU. Try recording a future conversation to audit how often YOU is being used. It’s helped me as I’ve coached my team.
When ascertaining facts from a prospect. For example, at some point we need to understand our client’s web traffic in our sales process.
When are “You’s” NOT ok?
When giving advice. Frankly, stop giving advice. Start sharing stories and real experiences with clients and customers. Believe me when I say it’s 1000% more powerful.
When guiding a client. Don’t tell a customer what to do next. In my experience, clients respond well when they understand how other clients have already done something -- whether it’s a contract signature, onboarding process, involving another decision maker, or securing budget.
So, what are your thoughts? How often do you use "You" in your conversations with consumers? Let me know in the comments below!