Validate and Verify (Issue 1028)

In which we are reminded that, even when apparently well-informed and knowledgeable buyers cast themselves upon us with demands or requests, we can and should  pause… and ask questions. 

I’ve been rethinking last week’s story about the shoes. I missed something.

So, you may remember, I walked into a running shoe store and asked to buy running shoes.

A store team member introduced himself and asked, “What are you thinking?”

And I said: “Well, I’ve spent hours on line looking at hundreds of shoes and a dozen manufacturers. I bought a pair of Brooks Revel 4. I like the structure of the shoe and the heel-to-toe drop. They’ll be great for knocking around but I need a little bit more cushion under the balls of my feet and mid-foot. So, I’d like to try a pair of the Brooks Ghost because they have a bit more cushion than the Revel 4s.”

And he replied: “Certainly, what size?”

[This is the bit I missed last week.]

Almost ANY question about feet, shoes, or purpose would have been better than, “What size?”.

He could have asked the moderately perspicacious, “Wow, that’s a LOT of research. What were you looking for and why was it so hard to find?” or the somewhat pedestrian, “You mentioned ‘more cushion’; tell me more about that” or even the perambulatory, “When you wear the shoes, what will you be doing?”

AND…. later, I learned that the store’s website describes the team’s methods for assessing customers’ unsocked feet, gait, stature, fitness and health goals, injury history, and exercise frequency in order to recommend a shoe or shoes. They don’t start with, “What size?”.

If our products or services involve knowledge or judgment, confirm and question. Validate and verify.

And, on that note, Happy New Year!

Nick Miller and Clarity train banks and bankers to attract and develop deeper relationships with small businesses. Many more Sales Thoughts like this and a host of other articles and resources at .

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