An aspiring entrepreneur needs to validate his assumptions before committing capital and time. Too often entrepreneurs create a product or service based on their interests, and without determining if there is truly a need or want for it. Successful, long-lasting companies are built on the foundation of making other people’s lives easier, and better.
Solving other people’s problems will make you money as an entrepreneur… a lot of money, if you’re really good at it. So how does one go about solving other people’s problems?
It starts with learning how to peel back the layers. The most practical and universally appropriate way to peel back those layers of apprehension/hesitation lies in four simple words, suitable to be used on a Fortune 500 CEO or your neighbor.
Four words that will change your life and open up tremendous opportunity if you listen:
“Tell me about that.”
Whether someone is telling you about a recent struggle in their life, a new romance, potential acquisition for their company or one of their hobbies, these four words not only demonstrate that you care, but they lead to what I like to call the ‘beneath the surface details.’
When people talk to you about something in their life, at first most will just scratch the surface of the details in order to gauge your interest level. It’s ingrained in us not to ramble on about ourselves, so we tepidly talk about personal or professional stuff in our lives. If the other person in the conversation seems interested, then we may elaborate. But if there doesn’t seem to be any interest, we change the subject.
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So when you follow up to their initial explanation with a “tell me about that,” it demonstrates your sincerity and gets down to the heart of the matter; the real nuts and bolts of whatever the situation may be. This is when you truly learn about people and their problems or challenges. And it’s extremely effective in the business world.
My business partner is amazing at this – mostly because he is genuinely interested. And he’s made a lucrative career from it because after he says those four valuable words, a treasure trove of actionable information usually follows. From the response, if he discovers a solvable business problem, he’ll propose an economic solution. It’s amazing to watch him in action.
Those four simple words – “tell me about that” – unlock critical pieces of information that present entrepreneurs with actionable opportunities. And from a personal perspective, they show people that you care. Daily use of these four words will change your life.