July 24, 2018 at 6:44 am #2293JeffAltmanCoachKeymaster
This question is designed to see if you speak to others before they speak to you.
If you think of sales situations, in sales, they want to know if you are a “hunter” or a “farmer.” A farmer is someone who is going out and building on existing business; a hunter is someone who is going out and looking for new business.
In effect what they are asking you for is whether you are open to talking first or do you just wait there for someone to talk to you. What they are trying do is to get a sense of whether you can really sell. It is one of those gentle questions that reveals a lot . . . they think.
Now the place where it is particularly tricky is that you never want to come across as an arrogant SOB. You might simply say, “Yeah, I have no problem talking to others. That’s really the way I build my business. It’s not like I wait for the phone to ring. I’m making lots of calls. I’m putting myself in social situations where I’m getting to know people and they’re getting to know me. I’m trying to build business that way.”
It’s really an easy and graceful answer. It gets particularly tricky if they’re asking you, as a manager, a director or above whether this happens because the subtlety here is to try to find whether you wait for trouble to come to you or you are seeking it out.
You might speak about, “I like to manage by walking around and talking to my people. I see how things are going. I want them to know that I’m available for them to confess that they are having problems. If they are not having problems, I’m not there to micromanage them. I just want them to know that, if they have a concern or an issue, I am available. So, I put myself out there so that, number 1, they know that I care and, number 2, they can feel free enough to drop one of those little pearls that suggests that they are having a problem, but they don’t say it directly. From there, I can speak with them privately, rather than in one of these walking around situations, be proactive and… I guess the answer is, ‘yes.’ Yes, I do have no trouble talking to others first, rather than waiting for them to come to me.”
That’s it in a nutshell; it’s a fun little question but you have to understand what is behind it.
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