Influence with Ease;
Grand Intentions to Greater Sales
learned a powerful lesson about selling from a 15 year old. My wife and
I had just picked up a dog from the humane society. On the way home, we
stopped at a pet store to pick up some dog food, a dish, and a leash.
I’m figuring this stop will take eight minutes. That was before
we met the store’s teenaged employee, ‘Tina.’
“Anything in particular you’re looking for?” Tina asked.
My wife replied that we’d just picked up a dog from the SPCA and
needed a few supplies. The teenager’s response: “Really? You
adopted! That is so sweet. You know, I’m working here because this
is more than just a job to me. I’m doing this because I love animals.
So, no matter where you buy your pet supplies from, I want to make sure
that we get all of your questions answered, so that your little dog gets
the best possible care.”
I glanced over at my wife and notice that she’s looking at Tina
with the kind of expression that says, “You-are-a-child-of-God-who-this-world-needs-more-of-and-of-course-we’re-going-to-buy-all-of-our-pet-supplies-here-and-let’s-not-even-dicuss-anything-as-petty-as-price.”
Fifty-eight minutes later, I’m pushing a cart out the door with
over two hundred dollars worth of pet supplies. The dog was only seventy
We get it!
That part-time teenaged employee had done something refreshingly unique
and convincing. She expressed what I call a “Grand Intention©.”
She shared that she was there not simply to make a commission or sell
dog food but to help people take better care of animals. By expressing
her Grand Intention, Tina demonstrated that she cared about our big picture.
In other words she proved to her customers that she gets it. The good
news is that you can have the same impact when you bring this approach
to your company.
Crafting your own
I’m sure that you care about your customers. Hopefully your employees
do as well. The problem is, do you consistently tell your customers that
you care? That’s why one of the goals of our Influence with Ease®
training sessions is to help employees to clarify their “Grand Intention.”
Usually, it involves expressing to the customer that you understand not
only their immediate need but also their larger desire. An insurance adjuster,
for example, might acknowledge the pain and hassle the customer is going
through to get a claim settled. So, the adjustor might start the conversation
with something like, “First of all, I want you to know that I understand
what a hassle and inconvenience it is to be involved in accident. One
of my goals is to make this part of the process as easy as possible for
you and to ensure that you get every penny of coverage that you are entitled
The Grand Intention can be used in other non-sales-type scenarios. An
attendee of one of my training sessions, a manager of collections for
a utility power company, said that he would urge his employees to use
the Grand Intention for collections. So, rather than starting a conversation
with a late-paying customer with a negative like, “We need to do
something about your outstanding bill,” instead, using the Grand
Intention, they would begin with, “Our goal is to help you to reestablish
your good credit.”
Grand Intentions also work well for enhancing trust and cooperation with
internal customers. Picture being in the Information Technology Department
and receiving a call from a stressed co-worker who’s having computer
problems. Early in the conversation, you say something like, “I
understand how frustrating it is when you are in the middle of dealing
with a customer and the darned computer crashes. I want to get you back
up and running as fast as possible so that you can get back to those customers
that pay all of our wages.” Again the Grand Intention proves to
the customer—in this case internal customer—that you get it.
Disarming the cynical
You’ve probably noticed that today’s consumer is better educated,
streetwise, and, frankly, more cynical about other people’s motives
than ever before. Consumers seem to be taking the advice that parents
give their children: “Come straight home, and don’t talk to
strangers!” Beyond telling employees to be friendly with customers,
managers need to equip their staff with tools for establishing trust.
Expressing your Grand Intention is an easy way to break through the barriers.
Not a bad lesson from a 15 year old.
For more from Jeff,
visit www.jeffmowatt.com. This
article is based on the critically acclaimed book, Becoming a
Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month by business strategist, consultant,
and international speaker Jeff Mowatt. To obtain your
own copy of his book just visit our secure online store here.