Listening to the Customer

This weekend I attended a wedding with my wife. It was catered by a very popular steak house, and they served a wonderful dinner. The main course was, as you might expect, filet mignon. I am a vegetarian, and so, I ate the salad, the vegetables, and the bread. I left the steak sitting right in the middle of the plate, because no one else wanted it (I imagine some wanted it but didn't want to seem gluttonous).

One of the severs, trying her very best, said: "Is there something wrong with your steak? Can I bring you something else?" I replied: "No there is nothing wrong. I am a vegetarian." To which she replied: "Can I bring you chicken?"

Okay, maybe she realized what she said as soon as it came out of her mouth. But I don't think so, because she waited for a reply. But before you laugh at my unfortunate server, take a minute and think about the assumptions we make in sales.

Are you ever guilty of believing that you know what the customer wants before you listen to them? When they voice a concern, are you already overcoming the objection without ensuring that you understand the underlying reason for their concern or objection? Or do you offer them the only backup you have on hand?

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