A few days ago, I was talking to a person for whom I have the utmost respect. I particularly respect his ability to sit with a client and make a solid connection in a very short amount of time. If you have an angry client situation, this guy is the ultimate troubleshooter.
He told me about a situation where he was sitting with a client and talking about raising the rates that they were being charged. Anyone who has ever had to do that knows that it’s not fun for either side. He described how he showed them usage figures and told them about the increased costs based on the client’s growth. He made a rational, intelligent case for the increase.
The client didn’t get it.
In spite of my friend’s explanation and facts and figures and considerable powers of persuasion, they didn’t really understand. All they heard was, you’re going to have to pay more. They got to the end of the meeting and, being the perceptive person that he is, he knew they didn’t get it.
He told me that he stopped just before they were about to get up to leave, and he said “Guys, I just want to say something before we leave.” He proceeded to tell them in BASIC, REAL terms why he had to raise their rates and why he couldn’t continue to serve and maintain his high standards at the old rate. He was sincere, he was direct, and they got it.
For me, knowing how superb a communicator my friend is, this was a wake-up call. If this guy struggled in making his audience understand, how much harder do I need to work to get my point across? How much effort do I need to expend in connecting with the people I need to communicate with? How much more thought needs to go into reducing the noise and increasing the signal in my conversation?
</food for thought>
(In case you wonder, that’s the symbol for Real Numbers. And no, I’m not a math geek…)