Goldilocks, me thinks, can teach us a lot about the relationships between customers and providers. Most readers will be familiar with Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You can read a highly neutralized version here and it makes a point. Much more of a point for business can be had in the original versions (see Iona & Peter Opie’s “The Classic Fairy Tales”)
Let me explain The Third Bowl of Porridge‘s lesson for business. It’s simple enough:
- Complete solutions will always win over successful solutions.
- The first and second bowls of porridge were successful solutions to the “hunger” problem but were not complete solutions to the real challenge.
- The real challenge involved satisfying Goldilocks’ hunger.
Identifying the Client’s Real Problem
The worst thing a business can do is successfully address a client concern incompletely. Successful but incomplete solutions usually occur when the provider fails in the Discovery Process, that pre-engagement part of a project where the provider learns more about the client’s business, market, audience, products, …, than the client knows.
Discovering What Makes Porridge Just Right
The power of a well-defined and executed Discovery Process is also quite simple:
- The client realizes you’re paying attention
- The client realizes you care about their business
- You become a trusted partner, a confident, an adviser, ie someone who this client will turn to again and again
- You learn before signing the deal how and what to upsell the client, extending the engagement and revenue therein.
Goldilocks went to Three Bears, Inc. and presented a problem; hunger. The Three Bears presented two successful solutions to hunger, bowls of porridge. Both correctly addressed the problem presented, both failed because they were too hot, too cold, whatever. Baby Bear asked “Tell me about your hunger. What do you think would satisfy it?” and got the contract.
But in the original stories?
Okay, this is a business retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In the original versions the client varies from young maiden to old crone to injured fox. That, too, is a lesson for business. Part of discovery is determining if your prospect is what they claim. Ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s bad business. Some prospects shouldn’t even be allowed in the door.
Also, variations of the original story have Goldilocks fleeing and never being seen again — even though Baby Bear won the contract, it was after two failed attempts — or being eaten by The Three Bears. I translate this into the client being consumed during the engagement. Goldilocks’s real problem was solved but the cost was much more than expected. Three Bears Inc. made a good penny but Goldilocks will never come back again.
So remember, my little ones, as you rest your heads this night; Goldilocks may not be all she claims, do your pre-engagement discovery work to ensure your solution addresses all her needs, and make sure the client is happy and whole so they can come back again and again and again.
Please contact NextStage for information regarding presentations and trainings on this and other topics.
Links for this post:
- 7 Things Clients and Providers Need to Pay Attention To
- 7 Things Clients and Providers Need To Pay Attention To, Conclusion
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