One of my favorite lessons from writing We and studying customer relationships is that the best wisdom for business often comes from everyday life. A few weeks ago I wrote a post describing an inspiration from listening to a Joni Mitchell song when I was in Europe. Today, Joni’s plain wisdom inspired me once again.
Just now, at 33,000 feet on the way from Atlanta to Chicago, I was listening to her song Chelsea Morning and heard one of my favorite passages:
Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning and the first thing that I knew,
There was milk and toast and honey, and a bowl of oranges, too.
The sun poured in like butterscotch, and stuck to all my senses,
Won’t you stay, we’ll put on the day, and talk in present tenses?
One of the key components of a relationship-building encounter is that you and your customer need to both be fully present, engaged in the present moment. As I wrote in this recent post on tompeters.com, one of the easiest ways to kill a sales conversation is to be focused on the next step in the sales process, ignoring the opportunity to create an encounter RIGHT NOW, in the present moment.
When Joni wakes up into her Chelsea morning, she is fully engaged in the “what’s happening now.” What does she want to do? Talk in present tenses.
That’s profound. Even while you are in a discussion with your customer planning the future, or recapping the past, be sure that you are in the spirit of the present tense.
When you are engaged in dialogue with your customer, think, “Won’t you stay, we’ll put on the day, and talk in present tenses?”
Wow. Thanks again, Joni.