Shift from being an effective Problem Solver to an effective Problem Finder.
Shift from being an effective Information Gather to an effective Information Curator.
Seek to curate information, not collate information. The world is filled with information, and many times the customer faces information overload. Simply bombarding them with endless information, technical specifications, user manuals, or design information will distract the person from making a decision, and in the end, he might not make one at all. Instead, we need to understand the customer, and curate information based on his needs, only showing or telling him enough information for him to make a decision. (This does not imply that you hide information from him though)
But to understand the customer and his desires is an entirely different problem. Here, we seek to be Problem Finders instead of just being Problem Solvers. Many a times, customers themselves do not know what they want. They may have some very vague details or requirements, but mostly nothing concrete for you to arrive on a definitive solution. We thus need to play this role of being a good Problem Finder as well, seeking to assist the customer in identifying what he really wants. Once we have firmed up the problem, and the customer agrees that it’s a problem he has, you can then derive a solution, which will be a lot more convincing because its a problem the customer and yourself has constructed together.
Shifting from one to the other does not mean the abandonment of the former, but the inclusion or emphasis on the latter.
I find this being more useful in life, when I am presented with situations where I need to engage with a customer, whom more often then not would ask for all the features. Separating the wants from the needs, the must haves and good to haves is a Problem Finding skill, and it’s something that will constrain the scope of work to have a successful project.