I have a friend of mine who likes to use the term “spark” to describe the emotional connection between two people beginning a romantic relationship. Most of us can recall a situation in our past where all the “specifications” for a new relationship were perfectly met, but where the chemistry between the two people just wasn’t strong enough to create an authentic romantic connection.
I’d like to suggest that, as we are talking about a business opportunity with a client or prospect, some of the same emotional wiring that creates a romantic spark is going to be very influential in whether or not we find the energy to support working together.
People have said, and I completely agree, that most people make decisions based on emotions, and then rearrange the facts and logic path to support a decision they’ve already made on an emotional basis.
Here are two questions to consider as we are talking with a client or prospect about a new project they are considering:
Can we feel the emotion they are carrying for the project?
Can we find a complementary emotion in both our client and ourselves that could become the chemistry that drives our working together on that project and others to come?
The answers to these questions could help us understand how committed our contact is to this business outcome. Often, someone may have reached out to us to discuss a project which, frankly, they don’t care a flip about. They’re only engaging us to satisfy a commitment to someone else to “look into it”. That’s a long way from “get ‘er done!” On their side of the equation, there is no “spark”. That could be a good sign that this project is a nonstarter. Wish them well, pick up your hat, and walk (maybe run!) for the door.
On the other hand, if we believe that the value proposition for the project is genuinely compelling for this company, then we need to find someone else in the organization to become our champion, someone who has the spark (maybe even created the spark) and who provide the emotional energy for the project to move forward. Continue the conversation and probe to find that person. If you can engage that person in the conversation, your chances for success become infinitely better.
Epilogue: The chances for creating a winning value proposition and a long term client relationship get infinitely better if we can find the emotional “spark” for both the project at hand and the on-going consultant-client relationship between us.