Chicago’s O’Hare airport is one of the largest airports in the world and the namesake of the “O’Hare Test“–a personality test that you must pass in order to get hired, promoted and be a superb salesperson. I created 4 test questions that you must pass in order to win a deal or take your career to the next level.
What is the O’Hare Test and why does it matter in business? The O’Hare test is this: if you are stranded at an airport for 8 hours between flights with a colleague, can they tolerate and enjoy your company?
When we are interviewing for a job or trying to close a deal, we often forget that in business, relationships are always more important than product knowledge. Here are 4 questions you must ask yourself before getting a job or closing a sale about your potential colleague or business partner:
1: Do they enjoy your company?
There is a good chance that you will be spending more time with this person than your own family. As such, you need to ensure that they really enjoy hanging out with you. What’s the point of working if you deal with people that you don’t enjoy hanging out with?
Years ago I was having issues closing customers. I was frustrated because after every failed sales call I kept working harder and harder to no avail.
At that point in my life I was reading a lot of business books and I had just finished reading Sun Tzu and the Art of War; I recalled the passage that every battle has been won before it has been fought. So I kept working harder and harder and I kept failing.
I was so frustrated that I said screw it and I started going to meetings much less prepared. Then something amazing happened which was I started closing every single deal. I thought that perhaps it was because I didn’t care anymore? Was I trying too hard? No, it was because I was just being myself instead of trying to act like a perfect sales robot person.
I started having a lot of fun getting to know my customers and this is when I first thought of the O’Hare test.
2: Do they spend more time talking than you do?
I love this quote from Larry King: “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” The best business people are superb listeners.
3: Do they enjoy answering your questions and telling you their life story?
When you are in a job interview or a meeting with a potential customer, you are interviewing them as well. Ask them about their life story. Make sure that their core values are similar to yours or that you respect and appreciate their core values. I have learned to really enjoy hearing about the lives of my clients and prospective customers. They are so much more likable once you get to know their awesome stories (maybe they even think the same of me)!
4. Do they trust you?
It is always important to disclose all material risks or potential issues you might have or your product might have before conducting business. Transparency builds trust. Once you really get to know people from a personal level, an incredible amount of trust and goodwill develops.
If the answers to the 4 questions above are yes, then congratulations, you passed the O’Hare Test! When you interview at a company or meet with a potential customer or conduct an informational interview, the first half of the initial meeting should be conducted like it is the O’Hare Test. Once you pass this test and earn their respect and admiration, then the rest of the meeting should be a breeze.
Chris Haroun is a partner at San Francisco-based technology venture capital firm ARTIS Ventures and a professor at the Hult International School of Business. Mr. Haroun serves on a number of technology company and non-profit boards, and is an executive advisor to Columbia University (NY). Chris is the author of the highly rated Udemy program: “An Entire MBA in 1 Course”. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.