We've been exploring the Four Rules of Engagement, which I introduced in part three of our six-part Education Market Leadership Series, titled “How Does Your Company Adapt When Markets Are in Rapid Flux?” In previous articles, I covered the first three rules as they apply to leadership and sales in a K-12 business setting. For context, you can check out those articles, read the series introduction, and listen to the companion podcasts on STS radio, with host Glen McCandless. This article, the sixth and final in the series, focuses on Rule #4, “You can help people shift their perspective.”
Before I tackle Rule #4, I’d like to remind you that Rule #3 is, “You can’t change another person’s mind.” So, what do you do if you can’t change someone’s mind? It’s simple: fully, honestly, and sincerely stop trying to do so. When you accept that potential buyers are completely and solely in control of their buying decisions, you can focus on helping them shift their perspective.
When novice salespeople – or even old hands – put too much focus on making the sale, and too little on the feelings of the buyer, they ignore a crucial factor in making the sales process a success. Always remember: how your prospects think and feel during your pitch is more important to them than what you’re pitching. It’s been said that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Similarly, the way to a buyer’s “Yes,” is through his nervous system. When you’re highly attentive to what your prospects are thinking and feeling, you’re better positioned to choose words and use examples that will appeal to their sensibilities.
There are rules of conduct I call maxims. I always include five Maximizing Maxims in my sales training events because they are essential to making the Four Rules of Engagement work for you, rather than against you.
If it doesn’t feel natural for you to apply the Rules of Engagement and the Maximizing Maxims in your daily conversations, you’ll struggle with them when you’re in front of sales prospects. That’s why I recommend to sales professionals in the K-12 market that they carry the Rules of Engagement and the Maximizing Maxims with them every day. Try applying them with servers at restaurants, with people you meet at social gatherings, and with your co-workers. You will not only notice people liking themselves more when they’re with you, but you will also experience the power of The Rules of Engagement working for you in virtually every conversation.