Tag Archives: relationships

The Simplicity of Sales

It comes down to a simple formula: Comfort + Momentum = Sale.

Sales begins with relationship. We want to agree with people we like. We want to be around them. We want to buy what they are selling. We buy what we are comfortable with.

But we are also distracted. We have too much stimulus. Too many things vie for our attention. So we also get lazy out of necessity. And we buy what is in front of us – that which has the momentum at the moment when we are prepared to ink the deal.

So if you are selling or think you might someday, build relationships early and often. Maintain them. Cultivate them. Deepen them. And when a sale is anywhere in sight, even off in the far distance, keep at it. Stay present. Don’t be afraid to push.

After all: Comfort + Momentum = Sale.

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Forgiveness

What if you are not alone?

What if others are more like you than you have ever allowed yourself to believe?

What if you are more like them?

What if every mistake you’ve ever made, so have they?

What if every mistake that aggravates you in others, you’ve made yourself?

What kind of forgiveness would you ask for? To whom could you offer more forgiveness today?

What Can You Win

How many times a day do you try to win an argument? It’s natural and normal to do so, but there is something much bigger you could try to win.

In every disagreement you can try to win the argument. But you can also try to win the relationship.

You can have disagreements with your peers or your boss or your employees or your spouse. Your views may be logically and morally sound.

But no matter how right you are about the argument, most times the bigger prize is the relationship. It’s like going to a carnival and playing the toughest game only to win a little plastic kazoo. Meanwhile, the next game over is much easier and handing out 3-foot teddy bears to every winner.

While there are a few arguments that are worth winning at the expense of a relationship, they are very few and far between.

So by all means, get out there and win at all costs. Just make sure most of the time you are seeking to win the relationship.

Bonus Blunder

In April I offered the Four Fatal Communication Blunders in which people think (and would certainly say) they are trying to do one thing, when in fact they are doing something totally contradictory.

Here’s one more.

Apologizing – Reconciling vs. Protecting

What’s the real point of your apology? Is it to reconcile and heal a relationship? Or is it to protect your own ego?

Many apologies start off well. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I shouldn’t have.”

But somewhere in there we shift into explanations for why the apologized for actions weren’t our fault and make perfect sense when seen from our view. That’s the blunder. That’s our ego kicking into protection mode, shielding us from the threat of believing that we did something truly wrong.

This ego protection destroys the apology. It takes us out of reconciliation and right back into disagreement. For an apology that heals we need to focus on healing.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have. How can I make it better?”

No Instant Replay

I was hanging out with friends and a couple got into a minor squabble. Someone lamented the lack of video instant replay in their lives. The thinking went that so many of our disputes would be so much more effectively resolved if we could go to the videotape to see who was right.

I think this misses some of the great characteristics of any healthy relationship – tolerance, acceptance, understanding.

It is in the not knowing that we build the character of ourselves and our relationships. Think about how you act in these situations.

  • I think I’m right, but I’m going to acquiesce gracefully because the point isn’t important to me.
  • I have no idea if I’m right, but I’ve argued myself into a corner and now have to figure out how to unbury myself while preserving my ego and our relationship.
  • I know I’m right and care deeply about the outcome, but I have to balance that with my concern for your feelings.

Videotape would destroy all of these nuances of our relationships. In fact, in relationships, who is right isn’t nearly as important as how we choose to pursue what we believe is right. Videotape would make everything about right and wrong. Not knowing makes everything about who we choose to be with one another.

Assume Best Intentions

I was facilitating a strategic planning offsite for one of my clients. They started by defining their mission – who they wanted to be in their organization. The idea they came up with was that they wanted to be “The Collaboration Team.” Any time anyone else in the company started a major project they wanted to be known as the team to call, the best collaborators around. They were pretty proud of themselves for this. There were high fives all around.

The following day they were discussing a project and another group was mentioned. Immediately they joined together in an outcry of frustration and criticism.

  • “The other group is political.”
  • “Their work isn’t as good as ours.”
  • “They don’t try as hard as we do.”
  • “They’re manipulative.”

On and on it went. Finally I stopped them.

I said, “Wait a second. Don’t you want to be The Collaborative Team? You can’t be that team if this is the way you talk about your peers.”

There was silence. So I continued.

“If they were meeting somewhere this week and your names came up, what do you think they would say about you?”

After a long pause their leader finally said, “They’d probably say the same things about us.”

What followed was a highly energized discussion about what had led them to these views and how they could avoid falling into such beliefs in the future. They finally came up with an idea that was part slogan, part policy, part mantra.

Assume Best Intentions.

Any time someone on their team became frustrated with someone else or questioned their motives, every other team member had the right and the responsibility to remind them to Assume Best Intentions. They would ask each other, “What would you say about that person if you assumed they had the best intentions?” It permeated all of their relationships within their team and between them and their peers, clients, and management.

A year after that meeting the manager of that team told me they had had a banner year. And yes, they were making their name as The Collaborative Team. He didn’t attribute this to their hard work, dedication, or skill. He said every single success they experienced came back to assuming best intentions. It increased information flow, broke down silos, healed damaged relationships, helped them bounce back from and respond positively to frustrating management decisions. He said it helped every facet of their relationships and their work.

So what would happen in your work and your life if you assumed that the people around you had the best intentions?