I remember as a child, craving for a chocolate ice-cream cone. I could see it in my mind, smell it...even taste it and I was convinced that nothing could satisfy that crave other than the chocolate ice-cream cone I would usually get when my parents took our family out on the weekend. This time however, we didn’t go to the regular ice cream shop... I was upset... really upset because my mind was so focused on that particular ice cream cone from that particular ice cream shop. I was ready to pop a fuse! It wasn’t until I read the first few of the 31 flavours on the big pink menu board did I realize that I didn’t really want what I had thought I did. I was now being presented with crazy new flavours I didn't know existed, such as RootBeer Crunch and Bubblegum. Chocolate was passe. That same tendency can affect us all at any age... and in any endeavour and in any industry.
When I started a small advertising agency several years ago, I was very enthusiastic and as a “hands on” kind of guy, wanted to do everything myself, including my own accounting. I studied the basics and poured over the Quick Books application manual and then went to town. I did okay, certainly better than those fellows as Enron, but after my tax accountant poured over my records several months later, I realized that I should have left things to the professionals. She was able to point out much better and simpler ways of doing what I was doing. C'mon... who chases a $.25 discrepancy for 3 hours!?
I'm sure many of you have had similar situations in business wherein you've been asked for a particular product or service by a customer that is "sure" they know what they want. Often times the request can be very clear and descriptive. A few well placed questions can determine whether he/she has simply come under the same “Baskin and Robbins effect”. The client may simply not know the full gamut of solutions to his/her problem. Maybe what they really want is RootBeer Crunch.
Just as you and I would not be properly served if we were to say to our doctor, “I have an acute distention of the cerebral cortex” and he immediately prepares us for brain surgery, wouldn’t we feel much more appreciative if our doctor ran a few tests and then informed us we simply have a tension headache?
Let's be good doctors. Let’s evaluate each client request and offer the solution that is best for the client, not necessarily what the client first asks for.
And when they call to thank you for the wonderful service, offer to take them for a chocolate ice cream cone.