Look and See

Now, I’m puzzled more than ever. That afternoon my next stop is with Andrea Kurezci at the Elizabeth Stewart Gardner Museum.

A quick search on my iPhone provides information on the museum.  It is housed in the stunning 15th century Venetian-style palace I’m facing. Andrea Kurezci shows up as an art curator. I wonder what role an art curator can play in developing great sales skills.

* * * *

A rusty haired, heavy-set, plain, but intense woman in a dark blue business suit barrels in and introduces herself as Andrea Kurezci. She grabs my hand with a vice-like grip and pumps it up and down. Speaking quickly, in a no-nonsense and gravelly voice, she leads me into the galleries.

* * * *

We enter a long narrow, dark passage. There is a solid wall on the right and a colonnade on the left around an indoor court yard. The space reminds me of a chapel. At the end of the room there is a large painting. I later learn that the gallery was built specifically to showcase this 11 feet wide, 8 feet high painting.

“What do you see?” Andrea challenges me.

“I see a woman in a long ruffled skirt prancing around.”

Andrea informs me, “You respond like every police officer, FBI agent, Homeland Security trainee, or medical student I’ve worked with. In the simplest of terms you are correct. Your eye went directly to the dominant image in the painting. But you didn’t see anything significant.”

“Where should I be looking?”

She continued, “You did what I call jumping to a conclusion. You looked yet you didn’t really see. You didn’t pay attention on purpose.”

Andrea Kurezci is sounding like a clone of Cory Stewart. I’m hearing a recurring theme.

You need to pay attention on purpose.

“You did what the Sales Guru did the first time we met,” Andrea says.  “When you first encounter a scene, whether it’s this painting, a fire disaster, a murder scene, a sales meeting, or a job interview, you will gain far more knowledge of the situation by taking the time to scan and observe the entire scene before making any assessment.”

* * * *

Andrea steps beside me and resumes, “Look at the painting again and tell me what you see. Take in the entire painting. Start to look and see. Try to be fully present.

* * * *

“Excellent!” cries Andrea. “You analyzed it quicker than most men do; even quicker than the Sales Guru the first time he saw the painting. You told the story of this painting.”

* * * *

“In any sales meeting, presentation, group meeting, job interview or personal interaction it is critical to be able to quickly—with an open mind, paying attention with purpose—to assess the entire scene and the motivation of people. Often the key player or decision-maker present is not the best-dressed or the most prominent figure, or even the person who organized the meeting.”

“Is it the look and see you talk about that will provide me that skill?”

* * * *

Practice it often enough and eventually you will learn to look and see in a blink. That blink will provide your competitive edge. That blink will provide you with the knowledge and ability to know what—and who—is important in a situation…and why.”

Look and see in a blink.

“Andrea, any other tips for me?”

* * * *

“Think of the valuable information you will gain applying this technique when you are fully present, Face-to-Face with a group or one person. Think of it as a whole body scan to discover what is under the façade.

Remember, the most obvious is not necessarily the most important. The ability to really see in a blink takes practice, practice, practice.”

The most obvious is not necessarily the most important.

With that final comment, she bids me farewell in the same fashion that Cory did before her.  Andrea Kurezci simply hands me a piece of paper and leaves me in the gallery, staring at El Jaleo.”

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Copyright© June 2010 by Larry Blumsack