We Just Don't Know Until We Elicit

By: Kenrick Cleveland..

'The devil is in the details.' It's an English idiom I'm sure you've experienced, or at least heard before. This implies that the small things that you weren't expecting or that seemed inconsequential, can sometimes hold up everything. The same goes for the elicitation of criteria. Sometimes we need to explore and delve into the details and definitions of their criteria in order to fully understand them.

At the foundation of all sales is your prospect's criteria. To use a sports metaphor, eliciting their criteria is like rolling that ball down with no gutter balls. Further defining their criteria, getting the details, is like getting a strike each and every time.

Here's how definitions work.

In my career I've done a lot of trainings and students come to see me for a myriad of reasons. For example, two people come into a training. Both of them, when you ask them their criteria, say that what's being taught in the training is important.

If you ask them, "Is this important to you? Do you really want to learn this?" Both of them will say yes. Yet each one has different definitions for their criteria when you elicit it.

The first person might say that the training is important because they want to learn new skills and continue to grow. Your follow up is to ask what that means. They might say that they want to see a list of skills and they want to participate in exercises using the skills so they can learn them.

Whereas the second student, when asked why they believe the training to be important might say that they are doing it to be recognized by their peers, and maybe the teacher or other students.

These two students are both willing to come to the training, both willing to pay for the training, but if you think about it, despite the similarities in their criteria, they've got wildly different definitions of what a successful training looks like for them.

For any of you that have taught in front of a group, you'll know what I'm talking about here. In any group there will be a section of people that probably know your material and maybe reasonably well, or at least think they do. There will be a group of people that are star struck, thinking, wow, I'm really in the presence of a master.

You'll also have a majority of people interested in really simply looking to gain knowledge for the sake of knowledge and value that above all else.

It's important for you to begin to understand that every time you think you know what someone wants, unless you ask, you don't. You're not on target. You're not on track. And until you both elicit the criteria and elicit the meaning, the definition, you are completely missing the boat.

Knowing criteria is a good start. If you want to bowl strike after strike, the key is to learn how to define their criteria.

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Kenrick Cleveland teaches techniques to earn the business of wealthy prospects using persuasion. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion techniques.

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