When you learn to scuba dive, the instructor imprints in your cerebral cortex one word: breathe! While it’s counterintuitive to breathe underwater, the instructors explain endlessly, “Never stop breathing. Do not hold your breath. You could die.”


When you’re with a prospect, build the relationship. Never stop. Thought it sounds counterintuitive (instead of “going for the close” for example), it’s vitally important. Never stop relationship-building. Don’t hold back. You could die.


You need to build a trusting relationship in this profession with all potential buyers (not with non-buyers). That’s because only then, when trust is established and apparent, will the buyer provide his or her objectives, measurement criteria, and impact (value) on the organization and on them. That’s the basis for a proposal. They won’t do that for someone they don’t trust. They won’t do it for someone constantly trying to close a deal.

And even if you do manage to close a deal short of a trusting relationship, it will always be a smaller deal than would have been otherwise generated.

I talk to too many consultants who don’t feel they are peers of the buyer. Who are too concerned about getting business. Who desperately are always thinking of money. Who can’t seem to put themselves in the buyer’s shoes. Whose egos make the conversation adversarial. Who simply want to deliver their methodology and don’t care about the buyer’s needs.

Breathe. Don’t get too deep without having reached agreements on the way down. Otherwise, when you’re done and attempt to surface, you’ll get the bends: Being eternally necessitating depleted savings. (You get the idea!)

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.

3 thoughts on “Breathe

  1. It is so much about the relationship at every level of consulting. If you have developed a relationship with the client and proven to be a trusted advisor, they will end up doing the selling for you. They will feel as though they can’t function without your knowledge and advice and keep coming back to you.
    Lew Sauder, Author, Consulting 101: 101 Tips For Success in Consulting

  2. As a benchmark, these posts just confirm that everything I say is spot on. Thank you Alan. This is great and so true Alan. An excellent post

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