Does this happen to you?
You sit down with a client and you expect to hear what it is they need. Instead, they start talking about specific events and issues that arose at some point, jumping from one topic to the next. And you end up leaving unsure as to what they actually need or asked of you.
If you feel confused, that’s because your client is confused too. They know they need help but they’re not sure what the source of the problem is.
We’ve all been there ourselves, haven’t we? We know something is wrong but we can’t seem to be able to pinpoint what it is.
I used to be in this situation often in the past, especially when I was staring off. And I know a lot of service providers have been there too
If that’s the case for you, here’s what you can do to understand / help better:
- Ask your client to keep a journal of the issues that arise during a period of time (say 2 weeks) and analyse them together
- Talk to employees – sometimes people in the front line have a better understanding of the issues but are afraid to speak up
- Identify what the most common problems your niche market is facing and create a short questionnaire to lead your client to the underlying problem rather than the symptoms.
Remember – it is all about reading between the lines