Premature Solutioneering

Sometimes as coaches or salespeople we jump in too quickly with solutions. We’re all guilty of this disease I call premature solutioneering.

It’s April, the weather has been fabulous and it’s now the time of the year for the Brit’s favourite weekend past-time.  No, it’s not gardening, decorating or grass cutting although that’s close – it’s car booting.

All day we’ve been preparing for a morning Car Boot Sale and all around the house, sheds, gardens we’ve been busy getting stuff together to sell. My two sons are keen to make as much spending money for their summer holiday so have been busy rummaging through their bedrooms to see what they could sell. And they found their old Xbox Consoles and some Xbox games.

Downstairs you could fine me, sweating away packing, wrapping, pricing and shoving stuff into the car when Euan interrupted me and asked for some post-it notes. Rather distracted I pointed to where he could find them and he headed towards the study. Claire was watching me and gave me one of her “you’re not listening are you” glares and I realised my mistake.

I shouted out…

“Hold on Euan, what is it you’re looking to do here?”

“We want to put some prices on our Xbox games to sell at the Car Boot.”

I paused, thought for a moment…

“You’re better off using sticky labels on the game cases. Using post it notes won’t work as they’ll peel off and drop on the ground.  There’s some on the bottom shelf in the study”

Thanks Dad”

As he headed upstairs I realised what I’d done.

So the next time your customer or coachee asks for something, makes an order, tells you what they want to achieve, gives you their request. Before you go ahead and serve them or help them…just pause a while first. Probe to find out a little bit more about what they want to accomplish and maybe you can offer a better solution. Like my sticky labels.

Sometimes we’re so busy and wrapped up in other things we forget and try to give a quick answer, where often some extra probing works dividends.

And boy, am I looking forward to the car boot sale tomorrow. I’m putting on my sales coaching hat and my two boys are fronting the sales desk so I’m hoping for some major sales.