Crystal Clear Communication

187281068George Orwell famously said, “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.” If his assertion is true, many hiring managers we work with or hope to work with are often insincere at best. Whether done purposefully or not, a fundamental truth is that many hiring managers tend to “go dark” after an initial meeting or worse, after we have sourced, screened and submitted candidates. Simply put, does the manager you are working with do what they say they are going to do? I imagine all of us have recently dealt with a manager that either did not follow through on a commitment, told you something that was untrue or said something to you that was ambiguous at best.

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There are a number of words and phrases that hiring mangers use with sales folks in our industry that have multiple meanings. The problem is we typically only hear what we want to hear and we make the assumption that the manager’s definition of the term is the same as ours. In my training classes we play a brief word association game. I tell the class to write down the first word they think of when I say the word “green.” The most common answer is “money.” But surprisingly enough, I get all sorts of other words as well, such as “go,” “grass,” “new,” “rookie,” “environment,” “turtle,” “red,” and “color.” The point is that when a hiring manager tells you “ASAP” or “It’s urgent,” we should not assume “ASAP” means as soon as possible from the very moment it’s said. It could mean as soon as possible after his two week vacation or as soon as possible after the budget gets approved or as soon as possible after the contract has been won.

A significant part of client control is to get yourself in the habit of drilling down on words and phrases managers use to communicate with you and clarify and confirm what the manager actually means. Just because he says it’s urgent may not mean it’s urgent from the very moment he says it. Of course the better the relationship, the more leeway you will have with the manager in qualifying what he actually means. If it’s a newer relationship, you’ll want to tread more cautiously.

Next time I’ll discuss a very useful tactic that will provide you a significant advantage in helping you earn client control.

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Chris Cosmos

Chris Cosmos
Chris Cosmos is founder and managing director of Cosmos Sales Professional.

Chris Cosmos

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