One of the real challenges for individuals in the Business Development role is that they are intellectually quite bright. Many Business Developers think at a level and pace well beyond that of the average person, and they believe most people are at the same intellectual level.
In some cases, this dynamic leads BD people to anticipate or assume what the prospect is thinking, or ascribe meaning to the information the prospect shares. Occasionally they are right, especially if they’re dealing with an individual most like themselves. However, more often than not, their assumptions lead to false conclusions or missed opportunities to uncover the core issues driving the prospect.
Each of us in Business Development, charged with engaging prospects and gathering human intelligence (HUMINT®), would do well to rein in our own thinking.
To control this tendency, take time to script questions that will help you uncover what your prospect really thinks. By asking the right questions, you avoid ascribing your thinking onto the prospect, allowing them to think for themselves and share their own thoughts and concerns about what matters most to them.
“Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.” – Voltaire
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Don’t Think for the Prospect … Ask.