As human beings, we all possess a few foibles—maybe even more than we wish. But one of the biggest ones we all have is our natural inward focus. We tend to think that how we see and interpret the world is the same as how everyone else should—especially if we have a relationship with that person, whether that relationship is business or personal.
The reality is that people are unique and have many differences even if they have almost identical backgrounds. Each person possesses a mindset shaped uniquely by their experiences, their upbringing, their schooling, and their environment. You get the picture—and this means that every individual views the world in a slightly different or even dramatically different way, dependent upon a myriad of factors. Even though you may work in the same field, for the same corporation, and even for the same boss, it is unlikely that you will view an event exactly the same way.
I love the story of blind men encountering an elephant. One touches the trunk, another the tail, and the third the ear. Each describes something different—yet all are correct. They are explaining how they “see” the elephant. This is important to remember in selling. Your customer does not have the vast knowledge that you do about your product and how they perceive your product/offering will likely be different than yours. And their reality is true to them.
It is human nature to believe our circumstances are all about us, not the other person. That is why we advocate “TLaC –Thinking Like a Customer” which is really trying to see the other person’s point of view. This recognizes that you and your customer might view your product differently. To be wildly effective in selling, you will probably need to develop a rich understanding of your customer. Learn how they “see” the elephant. So ask those questions that get to the heart of the matter—learn what is important to your customer and how they see your product in their mind’s eye. You may be surprised by what you learn. You may actually discover that what you thought was their perspective or experience with your product or service wasn’t the case at all.
Each person is an individual—and brings to the table their own frame of reference. That is why dealing with people can be so challenging—and also so rewarding. The world would be so boring if everyone thought and acted like we do. Treasure those differences. Seek to understand. You will broaden your value by being able to see things through your customer’s eyes. In the final analysis it’s what they think that really matters…not what we think.