The classic Covey advice,* with three business twists

1. Help the Customer Picture the Joy of Owning, Using, Working With, What You Sell

When you write an ad, make a website, take photos of your product, or give a presentation, talk about the place far down the line—where the client is having a grand time because she bought what you offer.

For example, if you’re a detail-oriented type planning a project with VisionPoints, you might like me to lead you step-by-step through how we’ll work on your website audit. I won’t forget that, and I certainly don’t recommend anyone forget to talk to detail oriented types. But first, you’ve got to see what it’s worth to you. So when I write “Do you want your website or blog to get you noticed, attract prospects, and help you make sales?” and “I’m here to help you change the way customers see your business, starting now,” I’m hoping those two phrases will conjure up images of exactly what you need the end result of our work to be.

Detail-oriented types will read on, but the truth is most folks want to know what the results are, not every step in how they get the results.

Shooting a photo for packaging, for your website, or for an ad? Showing a happy owner using your XYZ widget sounds obvious, yet how many shots of a product sitting on a blank background do you see which don’t allow you to imagine yourself in the picture?

Talking about the successful results you’ll have, or others who’ve succeeded who are just like you sounds obvious, but how many presentations have you listened to talking about methodologies, awards that the pitching firm has won, and other under-the-hood stuff that only holds the customer at a distance?

It’s about the customer. And when you begin with the end in mind, it’s not about the customer today. It’s about helping the customer picture her better tomorrows.

2. Assume the Close

This is another old saying that still gets ignored way too often. Don’t talk about “if” we work together. Say “when.” Don’t dip a toe in with “would you like to get started in a week.” Say “we can deliver the finished project on November 24th.”

When you’re in business, it’s not just something to pass the time. You’re there to make sales. It’s okay to assume it’s a done deal, and it doesn’t have to come across as arrogant.

When you go to your grocery store, do you think, “How arrogant! Check-out lanes! Cashiers! Express lanes as if they think I can’t wait to give them my money!”

Nope. You elbow the guy next to you so you can hit that express lane before the line gets any longer.

Assume the close and far more of your clients will elbow each other to get into line to buy from you.

Write about what IS in your awesome product, what I should do to MAINTAIN the fencing I’ll buy, and of course, (remember those detail-oriented types?) how we WILL work together.

It’s not magic. But when you begin with the end in mind, you’ll walk right through objections as if they aren’t there. You do work with clients, they do purchase from you, and it’s time to overpromise AND overdeliver for this client—like the express lane. Let’s start now, you’ll say. I wouldn’t want to make you wait to picture yourself enjoying those awesome benefits.

3. Don’t Slobber All Over Your Customer When They’re Getting to Know You

At first this might sound like it contradicts number 1 and 2. If you’re not used to beginning with the end in mind, those techniques might seem a bit slobbery.

Let’s return to the grocery store for a minute. Where are the cash registers?

At the end of your journey. Sure, they’re direct. They assume the close. But they don’t put ‘em outside the store as you’re walking in.

A quick reminder: Like the first time you saw the one you *knew* you had to marry, if you were a smart one, you bit your tongue and said “Hello” first.

You can make sure they’re seeing themselves far in the future, picturing a happy outcome. You can present your company as The Solution to the number one issue your customer is facing. You can talk in the language of one who’s assured of the outcome…

… without asking for the sale in the first breath.

To begin with the end in mind, relax—in your writing, in your presentations, in the service at your store. Be comfortable and confident of the sale, because you’re confident that you can help your customer. Listen for little yesses that move the process forward. Don’t rush.


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson

*Habit 2, if you’re a fan of Stephen Covey’s writing. “It is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint.”

That’s what creating Maximum Customer Experience is all about. Your customer’s happy ending follows your blueprint—if you’ve taken the time to draw up the blueprint.