Has this ever happened to you? You’re talking to someone and the conversation gets off topic and turns into something you didn’t expect. Maybe it even starts to feel like a waste of time (especially if it’s a sales conversation).
Here's the problem with most conversations…
No purpose is set for the conversation and so it bounces around like a pinball. In a sales conversation, you are there to enroll them in their vision and have them purchase, but too often that doesn’t happen and instead, you are left wondering how things got so far off track.
Here’s a simple technique you can use anytime you have a conversation to prevent that. It will save you a lot of pain and get a lot of results. It's called Setting the Intention.
The very first thing to do in a conversation is to set the intention. It’s simple. Here are 3 different types of conversations and how to use this tool in each:
In a coaching conversation
Let's say I am going to coach someone. After some small talk, I say something like, “Okay, for us to be able to get the most out of this conversation, I want to set some intentions. Here are my intentions.” Then I list two to three intentions. For example, number one, I want to get to the root of what you want to accomplish. Number two, I want to set three to five actions you can take that will help you get your results. And number three, I want to connect on a deeper level so that we can really understand each other.
Then ask, "What are your intentions? For you to get the most out of this conversation, what would you like to have happen?" Listen to what they say and repeat their intention back to them. That gives them the opportunity to change or add on any other intentions, because in the moment, sometimes we forget to share everything that we want. You can even ask, "Okay, so A, B, and C. Is there anything else that you would like to accomplish in this conversation?"
In a sales conversation
Setting the intention in a sales conversation is very similar. I usually say something like, "Well, number one, I want to understand a little bit more about what you do and what you are looking for. Number two, I want to share a little bit about myself so that we can understand each other on a deeper level. And number three, if throughout this meeting, something resonates with you, then I want to share some packages, and we can talk finances and get you started." For those who have been through our Impact 2 Income course, you may set intentions like these, "Great, I want to understand what your ideal vision is, learn about some of your obstacles, and then if I can serve you, share a few opportunities that you could get plugged into. Sound good?"
Then ask them, "Great, well, what are your intentions? What would you like to get out of today's conversation?" And then you listen. Repeat their intentions back to them and ask if there's anything else. This way you are really listening and serving them.
In a personal conversation
This same technique works in other conversations too – like with your spouse. When my wife and I sit down to talk, we always set some intentions for our conversation. It may sound like this:
"Hey honey, I want to talk to you."
"Great, what would you like to talk about?"
"Well, I would really like to talk about X, Y, Z."
"Okay, great. So you would like to talk about X, Y, Z?" (Repeat it back to them as a question.) "Okay, awesome. Is there anything else that you would like to talk about other than the X, Y, Z?"
"Actually, yeah, I want to talk about this, this, and this."
"Okay, awesome. X, Y, Z, and this, this, and this, anything else?" Listen and add on anything else they say.
By doing this, your partner really feels like you are listening, you care about them, and their needs are being met.
Practice setting intentions early on in your conversations. I’d love to hear about your experiences and results from implementing this powerful tool. Post on our Facebook group and I will respond to you.