Showing Up in Conversation

By Kevin Brown | Bio

In my previous post, I discussed showing up in conversation without pre-formed conclusions about the person we are entering into conversation with.  While the post was directed to conversations with those we provide care for, the article applies to any conversation that we find ourselves in.  Whether at home, work, in not-for-profit organizations, at Church, or just in casual conversation with friends; how we show up in conversation has a profound impact on our relationships.

It occurs to me that we could learn much from the way salespeople show up in conversation with their clients, whether they are prospective clients or existing ones.  For many folks in sales, a typical day includes holding anywhere from 20 or more cold calls over the phone with prospective clients prior to their meetings for the day. While these conversations are typically short conversations focused on simple requests to meet, the way in which the salesperson shows up in the conversation has a tremendous impact on whether the call will be deemed a success (one in which the prospective customer agrees to a meeting).

If the salesperson enters the conversation with a view that is encumbered with past experiences (1 in 20 calls results in a meeting or customers resent cold calls from sales people), then chances are the prospective customer will pick up on the tone and emotion of the salesperson (one in which the salesperson conveys a lack of confidence, a lack of enthusiasm for possibility, or perhaps anticipates rejection).  Of course, these same challenges can occur during an actual physical meeting with the customer.  Perhaps the salesperson approaches meetings with memories of unsuccessful past meetings and therefore shows up with low enthusiasm and energy, little passion for the impact their product or service may have on the customer’s business, or an obvious expectation of rejection. Customers will share in the experience of low self-confidence, low expectations, and expected rejection on the part of the salesperson. Likely the customer will fulfill those expectations because much of the groundwork for that outcome was set by the salesperson.

Fortunately, there are intentional techniques that can be used to heighten the success of those calls and meetings with customers.  Many sales recruits are trained to enter conversations as if they were meeting their next customer.  Some individuals I know actually enter conversations as if they are meeting their next best friend.  A friend for whom the individual brings the very best of who they are into the conversation.  A conversation where they desire only the very best for the customer and for their organization.

Consider that when we show up without pre-formed conclusions, judgments, evaluations, or negative emotions we create an opportunity for the other party to enter the conversation without distractions. In such a conversation, each of us can create a space of possibility, a space where both parties can exchange information, appreciate the contributions of one another and where deep understanding is possible. Each participant in the conversation shows up interested in the other party versus trying to be interesting to the other party.

When we enter each conversation physically relaxed, create a space for what is possible, and are present with a sincere interest in the other party, then we may indeed be meeting our newest best friend.

How will you show up in your next conversation?

© 2009 Kevin Brown. All rights reserved.