Maybe their digital marketing isn't bringing in enough business. Or they have been misunderstood by their constituencies.
If we listen first, instead of providing an immediate solution, we may get that sale. It's rare for anyone to listen any more. Yet, the power of just being heard is magical.
Volunteers in the Urban Confessional Project are proving that out. They stand in high-traffic locations such as Grand Central Station in New York. They hold a sign indicating that they listen. No advice given.
This, of course, can de-institutionalizes the helping industry. To become centered during an emotional vortex, all that may take is having someone really there, listening.
In the process of confiding our inner turmoil, things seem to settle down. Hope can emerge. Fresh approaches become obvious.
The same thing can happen in the early stage of pitching a client. Only we hold the pitch. Essentially, we ask: Where does it hurt and what do you think will end the pain and open up new options? And, we don't jump in. That's the trick. To stay still, we take notes.
If we can't sit and listen to the whole story, that bit of business may not be for us. Instead we owe it to that prospect to say that we are not a good fit. After all, while doing the actual work, we should also be doing a lot of business.