Connect. Don’t Persuade

My acceptance into the Sales Training MBA program offered by The School Of Hard Knocks was accepted 3.5 years ago – shortly after the birth of my daughter. 

I continue to learn so much from this program and am enthusiastic about never graduating!

Before enrolling, I had sat through countless seminars teaching the benefits of building rapport, clear communication, understanding buyers’ needs/situations, and presenting value. 

There is some value in building rapport; but it often comes across as gimmicky. Some suggest talking about something banal like weather, or local sports. Others say steer the conversation to get them to say YES at least 4 times.

These often fall short because rapport isn’t the same thing as trust. 

At best, rapport allows us to identify potential opportunities for temporary mutually-aligned interests. It can be beneficial, but it is always transactional, and therefore a point of contention. It hardly supports us when we are rushed, upset, pulled in other directions, or otherwise stressed. 

Over the last two weeks, our daughter has been reminding my wife and I that she cannot be persuaded to do anything she doesn’t want to do – go to the bathroom, eat a meal, take a bath, get dressed, read a shorter book before bed, go to sleep, go to school, etc. 

Reflecting or twisting her wants to align with our desires doesn’t work.
Showing her the value or benefit is pointless.
Appealing to her desires (stated or assumed) is ineffective.

In order to get her to do something, she must want to do it. In order for her to want to do it she needs to connect to us, and connect with the task. Completely. And without agenda. 

Let’s read that again, but with more feeling this time.

In order to get her to do something, she must want to do it. 

In order for her to want to do it she needs to connect to us, and connect with the task.

Completely. And without agenda. 

Connecting builds trust.

It says, “I see you. And I am here with you.” 

This is different than; “We can benefit each other by aligning our interests together.”

Connecting is hard work. 

It requires an intensity dedication to nothing but her. When she feels it, she calms down and is much more open to wanting to do what we ask. 

Sometimes it takes moments or minutes. The other day she sprinted off her t-ball field in order to tell me she needed a hug. That hug lasted 0.25seconds before she returned to her spot on the infield. 

Other times it takes several painful hours.

It got me thinking about how what might happen if we brought this level of humanity to work.

How would it change the way we lead our teams?
How would it impact the way people follow us?
What would it do for client relationships?
How would marketing and sales feel?
How would it benefit us at home as well?

My guess is that it would begin a wave of positive transformations to directly benefit us and those around us.

Join me in my quest to bring more humanity to work. 

Connect with me. See me. 

Let me see you. 

Tell me ways we might make life a little better together.


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