Friday, May 18, 2007

He Steals, Dum! Dum! Dee!

Please follow the train of thought, here. I'll make sense soon, I promise (oh, you trusting souls).

Last week I sent a package of lupins to my brother, Rodney in Atlanta. He's been calling me Lupins since saw the Monty Python episode on Dennis Moore he was 10 an I was 13. He laughed like a goon when he opened the envelope.

Yes, the flower Lupins. See, in these sketches, the fictional highwayman, Dennis Moore, a kind of moronic Robin Hood, who steals lupins to give to the poor. The poor, on the other hand, want food, medicine and money.

(Here's the tricky part where I connect this powerfully to the business of being in, here goes....)

Have you ever noticed how clueless we can sometimes be with prospects? They may want something we don't sell, but, by gum (and I do so know what that means), we're going to find a way to foist off on them something we sell.

We're just not in their world, instead happily lazing about in our own particular orbits. I remember the first time I really listened to the answer when I asked a new associate I was meeting at a networking event "Where are you challenged and how can I help you?" To be frank, it took several passes at the question before he realized that I really wanted his answer (note: not the answer I could have set him up for). First, he said he wanted more money. Knowing that most people really aren't motivated by money, I kept asking. His answers surprised both of us. He wanted his newly-widowed mother to be safe. He worried about her at work and it was effecting his performance. She lived far away and he didn't want her to be lonely.

Now, instead of leaping in to tell him all about how I could help him, I did something completely different. I found someone who could help him with his mother, a family concierge who did errands and companion services for the otherwise-healthy elderly and arranged a three-way call to get them together.

Unlike Dennis Moore, I didn't offer him lupins when he wanted his mother safe.

He was delighted. Later, he surprised me by asking me for help on something I could sink my teeth into and referred me, generously, to others.


Scott Forgey said...

Very clearly what happens when we are present only to our need for business. When speaking with business owners at events I am always surprised that people are so "mercenary". That is, when they look at you they see a means to making money, a purchaser for their product or service...not a human being. They quickly try to determine if or how much they can sell you, then move on.

Networking is the antithesis of product pushing. I always to look to see how I can really make a difference with someone, including a referral to someone who can help them better than I. I firmly believe that making a difference will always be repaid.

Scott Forgey