How to avoid premature evaluation and premature elaboration

May 10, 2022 | Networking, Sole practitioners

Imagine being in pain and going to your doctor for some help. Within moments of your arrival the doctor starts telling you, very enthusiastically, how similar your pain is to their previous patient, what is wrong with you and what medicine you need to take.

How would you feel if that happened? Would you trust the doctor? The doctor could be right but you will be more likely to trust their advice if they spent a little time first finding out more about your specific pain rather than just making assumptions and talking, talking, talking!

The same is true for accountants. You need to give your prospects some credit for intelligence. You need to assume that they can tell if you are listening to them or if you seem only interested in flogging them your services.

People do not like being sold to, but they do like to buy. Successful accountants look to build trust and a long-term relationship by working with human nature rather than against it.

If a prospect feels that you are more interested in selling your services than solving their problems then you are unlikely to gain their confidence or to encourage them to engage you to do more than the bare minimum (if that). Your relationship with the new client will always be vulnerable no matter how likeable you are.

When you meet with a prospective new client you need to help them feel that your focus is 100% on them and that you are going to give them the right advice for their issues. They like the fact that you have experience but they want you to apply that experience to their specific issues rather than just making assumptions.

There is a term for the condition where accountants (or indeed anyone trying to sell their services or products) gets very excited and enthusiastically sells all over the place without bothering to take an interest in their prospect’s problems – It’s called ‘premature evaluation’ and there is a lot of it about!!!

Related to this is a similar concept of ‘premature elaboration’.
It’s something that many of us may be guilty of when we’re networking or selling. It essentially describes the approach whereby you elaborate your service proposition and try to complete or close the sale before you know enough about the person to whom you are speaking.

I’ve addressed similar points in different ways on this blog in the past. And I have discussed this one to one with many of my mentoring clients over the years.

Does this make sense to you? Can you think of examples of when you’ve encountered ‘premature elaboration’ or have you even done this yourself?

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