How To Build Better Relationships With WNABE

When I first began selling I realized I was better at helping my clients solve problems then I was at introducing them to products and services.

Clients viewed problem solving as helpful and they viewed selling as intrusive and annoying.

Years later, I stumbled into a career in consulting and the first thing the consulting leaders told me was:

“Help the client understand his problem and then help him solve his problem and he will be with you forever.”

This was reflective of my own “selling style,” which was really a relationship development methodology. That’s when I knew I had found a home in big-ticket consulting.

Over the years, as I refined my craft, I developed an acronym for my relationship development method.

This is acronym is WNABE.

Each letter is representative of a word that is critical to my business development methodology.

The “W” is: Uncovering what the prospective client WANTS.

The “N” is: Focusing on what the prospective client actually NEEDS.

The “A” is: Determining what the prospective client is going out of his way to AVOID.

The “B” is: Demonstrating how the BENEFITS of your product/service will help him achieve his goals.

The “E” is: Increasing the prospective client’s EMOTIONAL engagement toward your solution.

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Here is the transcript to this episode of Four Minute Fixation:

How To Build Better Relationships With WNABE

What five-word phrase can make all the difference in your relationship development? It’s WNABE. To find out what the heck that means, join me now.

Hi, it’s Dave Lorenzo. Today we’re fixated on developing better relationships with clients, with friends, with people who are influential in our lives.

I have a five-word phrase that can help you remember everything you need to know about relationship development. It doesn’t matter if it’s business relationship development or personal relationship development. That five word phrase is spelled W-N-A-B-E. That’s right, WNABE. It’s an acronym . I know how much you love our acronyms.

WNABE stands for:




Benefit, and


Lets take each of those.

If you’re working with a client and you want to develop a deeper relationship with him you need to understand what your client wants. Understanding what they want is critically important. If you want to do business with someone, knowing what they want and helping them get it is the pathway to a long lasting, beautiful friendship and business relationship.

How do you figure out what they want?

You listen, you ask open-ended questions, you have discussions, and you listen to what they’re saying.

Hearing what people want is relatively easy, because you can go to them and you can say,

“Tell me, what is it that most concerns you? What is it that you want from this relationship?”

They’ll be able to articulate one, two, or three things they want to get out of any relationship. They’ll be able to articulate anything they want to get out of a friendship. They’ll be able to articulate anything they want to get from a business deal. The thing that’s much more difficult is understanding what they need. That’s the N in WNABE.

Understanding what they need requires a lot of probing and some in-depth interviewing. You should sit down and say to the client, or the prospective client, or the person with whom you’re in the relationship and ask:

“If you could change anything at all about your business or about this situation, what would it be?”

Then when they answer that question they’ll reveal deep down what their needs are.

Sometimes it may even be more difficult than that. Sometimes you may have to probe even further to get to what they truly need. In fact, in real long term consulting relationships we often have to interview clients of the people with whom they work, we have to interview business colleagues of the people with whom they work, sometimes we may have to interview vendors just to find out what they really need help what. Getting to what they want is say, they’ll just tell you. Getting to what they need sometimes can be more difficult. You need to probe more deeply beneath the surface.

The A in WNABE is: avoid.

What are your clients or your prospective clients avoiding? What do they want to avoid? This is another way to ask what they fear, what they’re really afraid of. If you can help them get around what they avoid, or even better, an even better word, if you can help them eliminate what they’re avoiding, you are a valuable person to them. Finding out what they’re avoiding is critically important.

Questions that get to what they avoid.

“What keeps you up at night? That’s asked often, so you may not want to ask that. It’s a hack-mead question. Instead of asking what keeps them up at night, ask:

“What is it about this particular situation that concerns you?”

“What are you most concerned about when it comes to your business?”

“What are you most concerned about when it comes to your competition?” ”

What are you most concerned about as it relates to the work we’re going to do together?”

Those type of questions will get to what they’re avoiding, what they’re afraid of.

The B in WNABE is: benefits.

What benefits can you bring to your work with them? In asking them the questions, in doing the interview, in conducting this interview in the first place, you’re going to highlight some of the areas where your client is vulnerable, where your client has concerns. You have to match those benefits to the concerns. As you’re getting from them what they’re avoiding, what the A in WNABE is, what they’re avoiding, you’re also going to apply your benefits to the things they’re avoiding. They’re highlighting really some pain, they’re highlighting some things that they’re experiencing in their business that are uncomfortable. You’re going to apply your benefits to the areas where they’re uncomfortable.

The E in WNABE stands for emotion. You have to evoke some emotion in them. They have to, one, express that fear or that pain in visceral terms. They have to be passionate about the fear or the pain that they’re in.

They also have to be passionate about their need and the urgency to solve the problem. What you do is you say to them:

“Mr. Smith, how much do you think this issue is costing you? What are some concerns for you, personally, related to this issue?” Or,

“How does this issue impact you personally?” Or,

“What will happen if we don’t solve this problem? What will happen if we don’t solve this problem?” Or if you’re talking about helping them meet their goals,

“What would happen if you don’t make an extra $50,000 this year? What will happen if you don’t meet your sales goal?”

Finally, you can say something to the effect of:

“Mr. Smith, I was just wondering, what would you do with the extra 20 or 30 thousand dollars you’ve missed out on this year by not having this solution in place?”

Whenever you highlight something that they’re missing out on, that gets to an emotional issue. That is more likely to get an emotional reaction from a person.

The next time you’re interviewing a prospective client or a client, think WNABE.

What do they want, what do they need, what are they trying to avoid, what are the benefits of working with you, and how an they apply those benefits to the things they’re avoiding, and what emotions are they feeling and how can you get them to feel these emotions in the present moment.

WNABE will help you become more successful in developing deep relationships on a consultative basis.

I’m Dave Lorenzo. Today and everyday we are fixated on your success.

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