How often do you acknowledge your clients? Acknowledgment is a powerful tool. Often we don’t agree with what others say. We don’t understand the decision the client made. Acknowledgment helps in these environments. It diffuses disagreement, conflict and is a fantastic transition approach.
I don’t see acknowledgment used enough. Often I see sales people ignore the clients position and move right into their own position. This is a mistake. When we acknowledge people we let them know we heard them, we validate their position, we diffuse defensive positions. Acknowledgement works great when it is inwardly focused. Acknowledging you and your companies mistakes, disagreements, failures, differences of opinions, shortcomings, changes, lack of support with clients and customers puts them at ease. It creates transparency. By acknowledging these things we are earning trust. We are putting everything on the table and saying “yes” I understand what is going on, I see the challenges, and I’m prepared to address them with you.
Acknowledging doesn’t mean admitting fault, if it’s not your fault. It doesn’t mean apologizing if you haven’t done anything wrong. It doesn’t mean agreeing with your clients position if you don’t agree. Acknowledgement is simply saying I hear you. I respect your position, whether I agree or not. I am taking this information into account in our dealings and interaction. I’m not ignoring you. I’m not discounting your position and needs. I’m considering you.
There is an ongoing discussion on whether sales is an art or a science. I believe it’s both and acknowledgment is in the art category. The best sales people are brilliant at acknowledging struggles, successes, differences and challenges with their clients, which in turn creates strong, safer, trusting, successful customer/client relationships.
Acknowledge first, it’ll change everything.