Some stories are worth telling a second time. This is one of those stories.

A lawyer I coached, who is now in-house, sent me this story from her company internal blog titled: Selling Trees. I found it very valuable. The writer makes a point to the company’s sales force by telling a story of his buying trees for his house. Here is a short portion of what he said:

If the salesperson gives me the equivalent of “trees are down aisle 22”, or says, “what kind do you want?” I’m sure they’d make a sale of some trees.

But if he says “Can I ask you some questions?  Are you using the trees for screening?  For shade? You said you were lining the driveway with trees.  Have you thought about spacing?  Do you want to hide the house or gradually reveal it as you approach the property?  Can you tell me about the rest of your property?  What’s the style of house anyway?

I hope you see the point. When you meet with a potential client are you selling trees (what you do), or do you ask good questions to understand how what you do fits into what the client really wants? Resist the temptation to jump immediately into what you do and how well you do it.