What Did You Say? Why Does it Matter? 

Have you ever said something, and then either wondered if you said the right thing, or were pretty sure you didn’t say the right thing? Or, maybe you actually nailed it! You knew it as soon as the words started flowing out of your mouth!?!  

I am in the process of supporting my son-in-law, Aaron, as he starts a Garage Force franchise opportunity in Des Moines, Iowa. My long-time hunting buddy, Todd, has multiple successful Garage Force franchises and is providing expert direction, advice, training, and other assistance to Aaron as well. 

This weekend, Aaron and I are at the Warren County fair in Indianola, IA to generate leads – people who might be interested in receiving a free estimate AND the fair discount! 🙂 

As we prepared with Todd prior to the fair starting, he ran us through several scenarios of how an interaction could go, along with some very specific language to use with the potential lead. For example, the opening line is, “How familiar are you with concrete coatings?” Reason: No matter what their answer is, it gives us the opportunity to share the 3 primary differentiators between Garage Force and their competitors. 

The next critical point comes sometime later in the conversation when you say, “Why don’t we get you signed up for that free estimate and fair discount?” This phrasing is an assumptive positive action that is easy for them to go along with rather than saying “no.” You DO NOT ask, “Would you like me to sign you up for that free estimate and fair discount?”, as that leaves control with the potential customer and allows them to easily say “no.” 

There is a lot of other stuff to remember and practice, but those two phrases seemed to be the key ones to get right. 

Swing and A Miss

So, of course, I think I’ve got this – pretty easy to do, right? I didn’t practice it with Aaron, I just waited for that first potential lead. And as you may have already guessed…I missed it. I think I engaged well with them on the first phrase, but I missed on the 3 differentiators, and then I asked IF I could sign them up. Nope! Swing and a miss! 

So, I called Todd and walked him through the conversation, and he brought me right back to the key sentences that he’s used thousands of times to generate leads. I simply hadn’t done it. I hadn’t practiced it enough for it to feel comfortable to me and to then easily flow out of my mouth.   

You see where this is going, correct? Just like practicing key phrases to generate a lead, a person in a job transition knows what some of those key questions are going to be. Questions like: 

  • So…tell me about yourself. (See last week’s 7/25/23 blog) 
  • Why did you leave your last employer? 
  • What is an accomplishment you’re especially proud of? 
  • How do you work with others to resolve conflict? 
  • Tell me about a time when you had to rapidly adjust to a new situation. 

Practice Will Pay Off

My hearing Todd’s teaching does nothing for us, unless I practice it and put it into action. Remember Vince Lombardi’s adage, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” I’d encourage you to sketch out your answers to the questions you believe you’ll be asked, and then practice them out loud by yourself. Then get a friend to pose the question to you and practice your response to them. The practice will pay off. 

Scripture tells us in Proverbs 1:5, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” Application for me: Even though I have about 40 years of career experience, most of those in Human Resources and Culture, generating leads is new for me, and I need to heed the guidance I’m given. 

Additionally, Philippians 4:9 states, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Application for me: While the Apostle Paul is speaking toward Biblical virtues and attributes, the principle still applies – – we must practice things to become skilled with them. It’s not enough for me to mentally assent to what Todd taught us. To get it, we need to practice it. 

Finally, 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 

I hope and trust you receive this personal experience and advice in the spirit with which it’s intended – – to help you advance further and faster with your job transition. Blessings! 

Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.

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