Adjective, Adverbs, and bears…oh my!
As agents, we’re taught to qualify our clients by using questions, so we understand what they really want. The answers to our questions are important but, the words the client choses to give us those golden answers are often more insightful and revealing. Luckily, you don’t have to be a psychologist to interpret these subtleties. You just need to pay as much attention to adverbs and adjectives as you do to nouns and verbs.
Wait! Don’t run away! This isn’t your high school English teacher talking. Let me explain.
In my role at OutsideAgents.com, I do a lot of fraud investigation for our agents through our Fraud Prevention Program. Some of it is technical – hackers and the like – but much of it is just a matter of listening, carefully.
For example, I had a person try to sign up with us using a fake identity. I requested a utility bill from her residence to help verify her identity. She provided one but it showed no electricity used for over a year. When pressed to explain how she had used no electricity at her house, she became angry. She insisted it was her home, and explained “I have provided you with my ID, my Social Security number, and an electric bill.” Boom! I knew she was lying. How? Look closer: “my ID, my Social, and an electric bill.” That was not her utility bill (and we proved it later).
Do you see how the words she chose to use told me more than the nouns and verbs did?
Let’s apply this idea to a nicer scenario. For example, one of my favorite questions to ask when qualifying a client for a cruise is “What’s your favorite hotel brand and why?” The client might answer “Oh, I love brand x, because of their service and prices, and those cute little private sitting areas.” Do you see all the information the client just provided?