“Come Wallow With Me– Let’s Wallow, Let’s Wallow Today!”

Many of you may recognize this headline as a riff on “Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly today!”  Why the change up? Because today in the Wow-world I’m talking about the value of wallowing with someone before moving along to problem solving.

What do I mean by wallowing with someone?

Imagine the following scenario: you are faced with a customer who is upset you no longer carry the product/service she loves and has been using for years.This sounds a lot like, “But I can’t believe you no longer have X! I love X! I always get X!”

Most of us, when confronted by this move briskly along to problem solving, which sounds like, “No, we don’t have X anymore, but we do have Y.”

On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with that approach. The tricky thing, however, is that your customer isn’t ready to move along with you. She needs to feel her feelings for a bit. She needs to wallow. When you move her along, she doesn’t feel heard, which means you are in for a few more minutes of, “But I can’t believe you don’t have X! Ilove X! I always get X!…..”

This can be exhausting. 
What do I recommend instead? First, validate her distress. This might sound like, “I absolutely understand your frustration….I know you’ve been using/eating/enjoying X for a long time.”

At this point, PAUSE to give her time to tell you (hopefully in a pithy way, but possibly at length) how much she does indeed love X.

(Wallow, wallow wallow…..nod understandingly, adopt an appropriately solemn expression.)

It is only after that, that I recommend attempting to movegently along to another option. This should be done very particularly; this should sound like, “I know it’s not the same, but would you consider Y?”  The beauty of saying it’s not the same reinforces your mindfulness about her unhappiness.

Ah, now she can hear you. Now you can begin to point outthe aspects of Y that are similar to X and, if she seems at all intrigued, how Y is really just an extension of her beloved X.

At that point, the wallowing is over and you’re ready to make the sale fly.

Frances Cole Jones