I have a confession to make: I don't always pay attention.
There, I said it! I'm sure I'm the only one, so I'll assume this blog is just for me today.
I "kind of" pay attention. I mean I pay attention enough to not seem annoying, not like I'm ignoring you altogether. But, when it comes down to it, I'm pretty much selfish. Again, I'm sure I'm the only one. (but read on, if maybe you "know someone" who might be the same way!)
Case in point: I took my boys to the Cleveland Auto Show last weekend. The reason I took them was because they LOVE cars. They are always pointing out cars as we drive around..."I call that one," they'll say...to every single cool car we drive by - from Dodge Vipers to classic Cameros to suped up Jeeps. I happen to also LOVE cars, so what a great opportunity to do something together that we both love? Right? But, mostly I was doing it for them. (or was I?)
Due to schedules, we only had a couple hours to see everything, so we get in and start right in at the Ford display. (My 10-year-old, Isaac, loves the Mustang - his all-time favorite!) We're only halfway into the Ford display when my seven-year-old, Ian, spots the giant Ferris wheel in the middle of the place! "Can we go on that, dad??" My response: "If we have time at the end."
We continue to the next display, and the next, and the next. I'm loving it all. Isaac is taking pictures of everything, uploading to Instagram as he goes, speeding onto the next one to take a picture before we even have a chance to investigate the details of the one he just snapped. Meanwhile, Ian is asking if we can ride the Ferris wheel yet.
We finally make it around to the Porsche display - MY favorite! I'm checking out the latest model of the 911, my dream car. Isaac is taking pictures and Ian is eyeing the Ferris wheel. I'm checking the sticker price, looking at the engine specs, marveling at this beautiful machine.
After about two hours, we finally got through everything and made our way to the Ferris wheel. Unfortunately, they only take cash, of which I have none! (who carries CASH any more!?!?) So, Ian is totally bummed. I make up for it by offering to get them both some ice cream. We have about 20 minutes before we have to leave, so as they're eating their ice cream, we stroll over to the "old car" room and pass through the four or five rows of classic cars - Mustangs, Cameros, Beetles, Eldorados, Monte Carlos, and even a Model-T! Fifteen or twenty minutes later, we're in the car heading home.
THE LESSON: Okay, so there IS a point to this blog. Wait for it...
On the way home, I ask the boys if they had fun. After getting a positive response, I ask, "What was your favorite car of the whole show?" (Can you predict the answer??)
Ian: "I liked that green one." (a sweet green 1969 Dodge Challenger)
Isaac: "That red one at the end." (it was a 1930's Ford Coupe)
So, while my goal was to do something TOGETHER that we both enjoyed, I totally missed an opportunity! I thought they liked the new cars, I thought we were all there for the same reason - cool new cars, the latest model of Porsche, etc. But, when it came down to it, they both liked the cars we flew by in the last few minutes "wasting" time before we had to leave. Yep - I suck!
Pay attention. In life and in business. When you're with a prospect, ask the right questions and LISTEN. When you're dealing with clients, find out what makes them tick...for real. When you're hanging out with your spouse, kids or friends, LISTEN for triggers that will help you truly understand what drives them, what inspires them, what they LOVE! And, then act on that knowledge you now have.
Want to know what I'll be doing next with my boys?? A classic car show!