If you’re interacting with someone who has experience in your industry, it can be a landmine! Maybe they have a relative that works in the industry, or maybe they used to work in the industry themselves. Regardless, if you’re not careful, you can end up blowing yourself up.
A client of mine runs an insurance company. A while back, he was talking with a potential new client. As they spoke, he noticed that she used a term that most people outside the industry probably wouldn’t know. And then it happened again. And again!
He did a little digging, asked some questions, and eventually she came clean. “You know what, I used to sell insurance.”
Thankfully, once he knew for sure, my client changed the entire conversation. He ended up landing the client, and it looks like she’ll be a really good client.
But what would have happened if he hadn’t discovered that landmine? He shared with me that when they’re working with someone with insurance industry experience and they don’t discover it until it’s too late, they frequently have a bad interaction.
If you’re talking to someone with any sort of experience in your industry, it’s easy to say something they think is wrong, or just disagree with. Even if you’re right, you’ve put your foot in your mouth!
Of course, depending on what you do, the chances of running into someone with that experience will vary. But there’s always a chance, and the barrier to entry in some industries is very low.
The more that you know about the person you’re talking to, regardless of the type of interaction, the easier it is to navigate around those landmines. But most people don’t volunteer information like that!
Do your research ahead of time when you can, ask a lot of questions, and watch out for small signs that help indicate their expectations.
Being prepared may help you avoid blowing yourself up.