Taking good inventory is half the battle

Everyone maintains customer relationships. Anyone? Yes, everyone! Everyone, both privately and professionally, comes into conversation with people you want to achieve something with. Whether it's your partner, neighbor, a police officer, a colleague, a (potential) customer, if you want to achieve something with people you should always take stock of where their needs lie.
Auteur: Erik Camman
Categorie: Communications, Sales

Only when you know where their needs lie can you make an offer to which they respond positively. Imagine the situation when your partner wants to go to the theater, while you want to go see a nice movie.

We listen poorly

We limit ourselves in this blog to surveying the needs of colleagues and business associates. To do so, you must first become aware that you would rather tell something than listen to someone. I mention that emphatically, because
most people think of themselves as good listeners
, but that every test shows that most people prefer to talk.

We prefer to talk

It’s a generalization, but people who talk are more in their comfort zone than people who listen. You feel like you are in control of the conversation and you can direct. True, but it also has a negative side. After all, you only get to hear what you want to hear. Logical, since you are speaking for yourself. In this blog, I’ll teach you the method to listen more and still stay in control of the conversation.

Open questions

So a good inventory begins with listening. What does your interlocutor expect from you? What does he/she want to talk about? What problems does he identify and what possible solution directions does he see? In this phase, you ask as many open-ended questions as possible. The trick is to phrase those open-ended questions positively.


Once you think you have retrieved enough information to give your interlocutor sound advice you summarize his answers. “So if I understand correctly, the organization needs…” If you read this question carefully you will see that this is a closed question. That’s right. In this phase, you confirm that you have listened carefully. If your interlocutor says “no” too often in this phase, you need to go back to phase 1. You did not listen carefully enough or (and this is more often the case) your interlocutor gained new insights as a result of your questions.

If it doesn’t work in one go….

You may need to repeat this game several times to arrive at a good inventory. You will also find that sometimes it doesn’t work out in one conversation, but you will need to schedule a follow-up appointment. For example, if your interlocutor has insufficient information available or needs to consult with a colleague about the next step. The trick then is to hold back and not “push through. Make a new appointment and put the questions that remain on the agenda for that appointment.

First goal achieved

In the end, you have inventoried enough to achieve your goal and have your interlocutor’s needs in view. It might even be the case that if you have summarized well, you have allowed your interlocutor to make a choice that suits you. Then you can still go to the cinema tonight.

But more on that in a future blog.

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