Did you know that we wear psychological armour around us each day when we go to work?
We sometimes feel as if we’re getting ready for battle.
A battle of conflicts with prospects, staff and even our own customers.
Imagine if you didn’t have to wear that armour anymore.
Imagine if you could start your day each morning never having to prepare for battle, but instead, be your natural self with everyone around you.
That is the best feeling in the world…and suprisingly, it brings incredible fortune into your life.
I think you’re really going to enjoy this interview I did with one of our long time Unlock The Gamers, John Bower.
This interview is rich in “take-aways” and “wisdom-nuggets” – as I like to call them – that you can put to immediate use in your everyday life.
John Bower is based in Hong Kong, where his firm, Human Potential Ltd, offers solutions having to do with maximizing the use of human talent and potential in a wide range of industries.
Based on your experience, can you say something about the idea of starting conversations by focusing on a problem that the other person may be having, versus trying to “fish for their pain” sales techniques?
Traditional sales techniques can be summed up as “find the pain.” But with your approach, I would never ask, “Are you having these issues?” because then the other person has to reveal himself and be vulnerable.
Instead, as you suggest, I would say, “We solve the problem of…” I don’t assume (like I used to) that the person is a prospect — meaning, someone who will reveal himself and say, “Yeah, I am having these issues — tell me more.”
From a psychological perspective, it’s amazing how persistent and effective defense mechanisms can be.
Any time a person feels attacked, either consciously or subconsciously, they immediately defend themselves.
This is why hard-sell and aggressive sales approaches don’t work unless they’re so strong that basically the client gives in. But this requires a thick skin to deliver, and a thick skin to receive.
The other thing is, I’ve had three different situations where my clients were asking about issues with a family member. Of course, you have to tread carefully with something like that. But with the level of trust that you teach, you get the kind of business you’d never thought of.
It’s way outside of what we would expect of typical business relationships with clients.
What are you experiencing since you’ve shifted your mindset?
The conversations are more effective. We get more referrals and more follow-up business because we have more lasting relationships with each client.
For example, if we go to a networking function now, we’re more likely to end up in a conversation about our business. I was surprised at the percentage of the time that people were wanting to talk to me about my business now. They were dying to have me say more about what we do and how we do it.
The issue with networking functions is that everyone is out there to sell themselves. The question is, how do you do that effectively while giving other people the space and respect they need?
One of the hardest things in the sales profession is to get the initial 30-second introduction. I tried out my latest version of an introduction, based on your program, at the last meeting, where people basically have 60 seconds to introduce themselves.
The outcome was that several people came up and wanted to know more about my business. In the past, at least 50 percent of the time, they would be about talking about their own business. We need to be open for them to tell us about what they do until they say, “I’ve got this problem — can you give me advice on how to solve it?”
What is it about the Mindset that feels right to you?
The main thing about the Mindset is that it’s very, very simple. It can be summed up in a sentence, but it takes us a lot longer to understand and master it.
The Mindset takes us to a new level of respectfulness that makes it possible for us to grow mutually supportive relationships and frees us up from the oppression of having to deal with conflict or with mistrust and rejection, which is currently prevalent in most of the workplace. It’s an evolutionary shift to a nicer away to live and work.
Because Unlock The Game is focused on how to be excellent about communication, it actually has an impact that goes way beyond your original intention, which is how to win more clients. It can be applied to the workplace, socially, and even at home….And we know that the more we can learn skills that are generally applicable throughout different demands of life, and the more opportunity we get to practice them, the better we get at them. And ultimately life gets easer.
The thing about what you teach is that there’s harmony with the best practices in personal development in training and performance coaching, as well as other areas that have a focus on human performance and productivity.
Unlock The Game is different in that it gives specific wording that is practical and that works. For example, something as simple as the language you’re given us like “That’s not a problem” helps to smooth out any pressure found in conversations with potential clients. I totally embrace your way of thinking.
Do you feel that your sales have improved because of the Mindset?
Yes, to have a sales program that’s in harmony with what we teach about training and development — no other sales training program that I’m aware of provides that. Another program may look as if it’s in harmony with these psychological principles, but underneath it’s based on control and fear.
You mentioned that you no longer have to wear “sales armour” anymore, tell me about that…
When we go to work, we’re putting on a suit of armour. We’re going out to do battle to win prizes and feed our family. Once upon a time we literally had to do that — to fight wild animals and bring home the bacon. Literally. So what we’re doing is deeply coded into our human programming.
Taking on a role in order to communicate something or gain an objective is a skill. And the people who practice being in the role that they play usually get very good at it. It’s a natural thing to do. But if we look at the reason we’re doing it in the first place, it’s that we feel vulnerable. And when we’re under attack, the armor protects us. But it also prevents us from developing mutually nourishing relationships.
There are people in the world for whom we still need the suit of armour, so it may not be appropriate to completely give up our old skills. However, if our objective is to find those people with whom we can develop mutually nourishing relationships, the first thing we have to do is put down our own suit of armour.
And recognize when it’s not appropriate because it’s getting in the way.
The more we practice letting go of our defensiveness — letting go of the formality to enable us to communicate in the initial stage — there’s a point when the formality becomes a barrier and we need to develop a new style of communicating that is potentially more vulnerable, but also potentially more constructive and creative.
How does this relate to the idea of talking with potential clients the way we would with a friend?
Why do we think that we need to be a different person at work than in a different context or with our family? If we have to be different, something isn’t working. The essence of this is, just because a human being puts on a suit and carries business cards, he’s not able to leave at home what makes him human, which is the need to be respectful, the need to be able to trust, and the need to avoid being hurt by what other people do and say.
If you get that, then there’s no difference between the workplace and anywhere else. If you call a prospect, he may have a grand title and be acting out a role, but if we can connect with him as a human being, then we have the opportunity for a far closer relationship. And a closer relationship usually means benefit to both sides. And that means financially and commercially, as well as other benefits.
To treat people the way you would treat them socially is very good advice. And maybe you need to examine the way you treat people socially — maybe both sides of your life will benefit. Develop a style that’s authentic to you and doesn’t have to change when you take your tie off.
Unlock The Game is basically about, “If I stop being defensive, maybe the other person will stop putting up their own defenses.” They may keep the suit of armour on, but maybe they’ll lift up the visor so that we can see each other’s eyes.
John points out some very important things for us to remember, not just in our work life but in our personal lives. All of us carry this “armour” around us to protect ourselves from others who have their own armour. If we can use the Mindset to allow other people to lower their guard by lowering ours, then we can create a deeper connection with people, and once that happens we can have clearer, more truthful communication with people.
If you understand the power of that, you can immediately apply this thinking to your business and personal life and the people you interact with every day.
(Note: At Sales Breakthrough 2010 in Los Angeles, I’ll be teaching an accelarated system of letting go of your “armour” so you can finally experience the freedom of creating new sales without having to be someone you’re not. That’s the secret to making your personal sales breakthrough.)
To your success,
Hi Ari, To make a long story shorter, I’ve survived 25 years in sales, and my share of trials financially, physically and emotionally. First I must complement you for your information. Even the free information on your site will and can make a difference in someone’s life… When I look back the reason for all my success was I had an uncanny ability to open doors and build trust… This was the secret to all my success. Slowly but surely I was changed into a stereotypical salesperson. Well I survived all this. Now I recognize I need to reinvent myself to ignite some momentum in my business and my life. Even if I don’t win the complementary conference tickets… I hope to invest in your program to fine tune myself and turn my life around. Thank you for allowing me to share. I wish you continued success. Ed
Defusing Sales Pressure and gaining trust, Richmond, VA
Thank You for allowing me to gain back respect in my profession (insurance selling). I really enjoy how you teach us our meeting will be about your needs and not mine, are you okay with that. That line has allowed many prospects to be comfortable with me. Your program has helped me tremendously in understanding the sales profession is not about me getting awards and only living for money, it’s not about appt’s, sales, and numbers, if I did not find out the truth in the conversation between me and my prospect I missed the mark. Your program actually taught me that it’s not about over confidence it’s about being okay to tell people I’m not perfect but I’m genuine, that mindset has opened and allowed more sales to come my way.
Fantastic article, I read it a few times to really have it sink in. How you describe the psychology of selling based on trust I’ve never seen before. You have a gift Ari and I know you are going to the top.
What you and John said above was music to my ears. With all the BS I’ve heard about selling over the years, you are the only one who has clearly articulated the truth about selling and what it takes to really create genuine trust. I know a few politicans that could use your training! Can’t wait to see you live in LA in November, I wouldn’t miss this for anything.