I was in a great business meeting the other day with a potential business partner and at one point he said, “I think there is an elephant in the room. Tom, why are you in this conversation, I don’t see the fit. Tell me what you are thinking.” Great approach – straight honesty.
Sometimes it feels like we are all playing pretend. We pretend:
- Competitor is not trying to steal our business when we meet with our customers
- Price increase won’t affect the business relationship
- Last month’s short-shipment isn’t making them mad
I like to get the elephant out on the table and open him up. Everyone knows he’s there, so let’s deal with it. I know, it can be risky. However, if I don’t know what the customer is thinking, it’s like flying blind at night without instruments – VERY RISKY.