This topic is a bit more esoteric, but I think worthy of discussion. In our careers, we encounter various requests from customers, business partners, and corporate colleagues - all asking of us something.
I like to group these requests into two categories:
Spoken Requests: Accomplish task A and B and deliver them on time and on budget. Do the job as requested and everyone is happy.
Unspoken Requests: Behind the requested task is often something deeper. It could be organizational, a lack of project clarity, constraints on manpower and budgeting, even reluctance on the part of the person asking for the project to move forward.
From the sales side, your ability to first realize and then attempt to address this unspoken request can prove invaluable to your customers and partners and can build an order from a single item to a larger project if you are able to effectively communicate a solution that addresses both their immediate and deeper concerns.
In my own career, I have encountered situations in which, after handling the immediate need, I was able to get more information on what I suspected was the unspoken request and was then able to formulate a fuller solution for the customer that not only increased the breadth of the project, but also demonstrated greater value to them and strengthened our relationship.
In terms of colleagues and business partners, anticipating and understanding their unspoken requests can head-off problems and project delays before they happen. Opening up that dialogue gets you out in front of what could be an issue before it effects your deliverables.
As marketers I think sometimes we are too focused on filling the order versus looking at the client and the situation and determining what they really need and what will give them the greatest value in the long-term.
When have you realized and addresses a customer's or colleagues unspoken request? Join the conversation.