For the past few weeks I have actively watched the Europe debate gather pace and now that it is all over and our destiny sealed I want to say something about my personal view on the tone and direction of the various debates.
Irrespective of your views of in or out, for me it has been about how each camp sought to influence us – their customer. It appeared early into the campaign that both sides were becoming increasingly emotional, defensive, negative as well as accusatory, in my view not a great way to exert influence, in fact the opposite can very easily happen with customers feeling more confused and even frustrated.
Let’s look at it from a business perspective, when you are talking with a client and they have a different opinion to you or you want to influence their buying decisions, it is important to very quickly realise that aggression, defensiveness and emotion is not a winning combination and certainly does not make for positive impressions. Indeed we should realise that it is highly likely that we would lose any credibility let alone respect., personally I think it highly probable that we would actually lose the client.
So what can we learn from this? For me the key points in any dialogue are equality, respect, empathy, positive questioning and the willingness to work towards a course of action that is likely to benefit both parties. This can only be achieved if both the customer and supplier feel they have a degree of control.
Equality of control does not come to everyone naturally and is only achieved by conducting through research, having clear outcomes and engaging in constructive, rational and problem solving dialogue. Experience would suggest that once emotion enters into any conversation both influence and respect are lost.
Sadly we cannot win all the business all the time , nor should we want to, the strategic seller would recognise that walking away with their credibility and reputation intact will allow them to work magic with other customers.
So what are the core learning points here, for me it is simple:
- Know and respect your client
- Know what you want and need to achieve and go for it
- Do your research
- Engage as an expert in your field
- Avoid emotion
- Ensure communication is clear, concise and accurate
- Do not be afraid to challenge and push back
- Trade do not concede
- Ask for the business
- Follow through
To learn more about these topics please check out our Building Influential Relationships and Proactive Negotiation training programmes on the Acet People website http://www.acetpeople.co.uk/recruitment-training-courses/