We have reached the fifth stage of the ALIGNED framework for enabling clients enthusiastically to say ‘Yes!’ to doing business with us. To manage expectations right from the beginning, we are still not yet at the point of identifying what our solution might be, although we are getting close. So stay focused on the prospective client, and guard against thinking about possible solutions for a little while longer.
|L||Learn their situation and desires|
|I||Injuries and pains|
|N||Nirvana – the Well-Formed Outcome|
|D||Decide or die|
Nirvana: the Well-Formed Outcome
The next logical step is to build the Well-Formed Outcome with your prospective client in order to create their nirvana, their state of perfection. The Well-Formed Outcome is their Big Dream, Crafted Well, Engaging All, as outlined in ‘Dance with the Elephants’. Building the Well-Formed Outcome with potential clients is a learnable skill that improves with practice. Remember to get them to express their Well-Formed Outcome using all of their senses – hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting and smelling.
Over time, you will form your own unique and congruent way of building the Well-Formed Outcome with prospective clients. I am deliberately not giving you the words, questions and interventions that work for me as these are only congruent with me. You must find a way of building the Well-Formed Outcome with prospective clients that is congruent with you.
At the same time, help your prospective client to discover those things that might stop them going ahead. It is far better to recognise these things at this stage. The more skilled you are at building the Well-Formed Outcome, the more committed your client will be to getting around the obstacles that could prevent them achieving their Big Dreams. The bigger the Well-Formed Outcome, the more trivial the potential obstacles seem to the client.
When you and the client have finished building the Well-Formed Outcome, summarise and reprise it, playing their exact words back to them. Tell the client you think you have fully understood everything. If there is anything at all that you are not totally clear about, resolve that lack of clarity with the client now. Don’t be tempted to proceed based on the 90% you do understand. You must be congruent here – if you have not really understood it all, you won’t be able to decide whether or not you can provide the perfect solution that will truly delight your prospective client and enable them to attain their Well-Formed Outcome. When you are certain you have understood it all and are ready to decide, question them to find out whether they think that you have understood everything. It is important for you to obtain their permission to decide whether or not you have the perfect solution. I might ask questions such as ‘Are you as sure as you can be that I understand?’ or ‘Is there any doubt in your mind?’ When you have their permission, you can move to the penultimate and most important stage. Only now are you finally about to be freed from the confines of staying on task, focusing on them.
We will explore how you can use your newly-found freedom in the next post as we examine the next stage in the ALIGNED framework – ‘Elegant Solutions’.
There is greater detail about the ALIGNED framework in the book ‘Dance with the Elephants’ available from www.dancewiththeelephants.com