I was in a delightful coffee lab the other day.
A coffee shop owner was searching for an alternative supplier and I was lucky enough to be involved in an impromptu tasting.
As we waited at the counter, a local business school MBA group were having a tour of the roastery at the back. Insight into start-up experience and growth plans was clearly gleaned as they chatted excitedly, awaiting their coffee alongside us.
As the delicate pour-over procedure unfurled, the coffee shop people stated what they might be looking for. Then, after this lasted all of ten seconds, the roaster began to speak. And speak. For a full two minutes. I was wondering how the guy could actually breathe. Here’s the gist of what he said.
What’s really important to us is the honesty. Where the bean comes from, what blends are good, which are not so, what will work, what will less so, when we deliver and where we can’t…
It was incredible. And as the coffee shop owner listening to this later commented, so spot on, ‘why didn’t he ask me a question?’
The roaster came across as a stand-up chap. And was liked by the coffee shop owner. He got away with his un-selling spiel. Just.
He did so because artisans, artists, founders and techies can get away with this. Not all the time, but a fair bit of the time.
Even in this most innocent of exchanges, the instant way forward was striking;
sounds good, what gave you that idea?
what exactly were you thinking about?
okay, this a new plan?
There’s a slew of qus you could go with first up. The point is almost that it doesn’t matter what you ask, so long as you ask.
Get the prospect talking about their hopes, uncover more desires, and all you really need say is that you can help them. Then you happily move to the next step.
And in this case, beneficial to both parties, one was duly arranged.
The chances of succeeding in the field this way are random. Remember to stop yourself from gushing forth with a pitch that’s irrelevant. It’s simple. Rather ask a little question first and get on your way.