Recently I worked with a coaching client who had a big problem. She had a prospect who was trying to minimize her proposal and remove necessary elements for the service to be performed. My client was pulling her hair out because she just couldn’t see how she was going to get the client to agree to the full proposal instead of just parts of it.
“And” to the rescue!
I taught my client a simple trick on how to use the power of “and” to move someone to your way of thinking.
- Start by understanding and ACKNOWLEDGING where the other person is. The other person has a certain point, a perspective that he believes is really important. Without verbally acknowledging their “map of the world,” you’re stuck. So, listen and put yourself in their shoes. What’s life like on their side? For my client’s prospect, she was a junior person in charge of figuring out this complex project proposal. She wanted to make herself look good to her boss and her company. She already knew that the company wanted to save money so she was coming from the point of view of: “I don’t want to be messed with. I want the best for the least amount of money. I want you to know I’m the one that you have to negotiate with.” When my client understood that part of the problem was that her prospect wasn’t the decision maker but wanted to believe she was, my client stopped pulling her hair out. When my client acknowledge the junior person’s role and how important it was in getting to the decision maker, things started to click.
- When the other person makes a point, agree with what you can about the point and say “AND…” followed by your own point. Whatever you do, don’t say, “but…” If you say “but…” you’ve basically told the person you don’t agree with their point and/or you aren’t listening. The person will have a tendency to repeat whatever it is they’ve said until they know you understand. So, stay away from “but.” The way to convince the other party that you are listening and understand is to acknowledge and repeat their key points then use “and” to attach your key points. With my client, she listened to the concern of the junior person and took time to acknowledge, point by point what her concerns were. With each point she acknowledged, she added “and…” then finished with one point of her own that explained how the prospect could get what she wanted and more by including each element of the proposal.
- Attach only one key point at a time! For each point the other person makes, use “and” with only 1 point from your side. If you stack too many “and” points on top of the other person’s point, he won’t be lead toward your conclusion step by step, he’ll just be confused. You want to use the idea of the foot in the door. Just get the other person to agree to one of your “and” points and then wait for them to bring up something else. Attach another “and” point and wait again. Slowly, step by step you are drawing them toward the direction you want to go. Each time the other person agrees to your “and” the closer you get to your end result.
It’s that simple. Keep following these “and” steps until you’ve reached a win-win for both you and the other person.
For my client, these steps worked perfectly. The prospect was finally able understand how the full proposal was best for both parties. She felt honored in her role even though she wasn’t the decision maker and she felt fully skilled to take the information back to her boss and present her case for the full proposal. The proposal has now been signed and both parties are working together amicably.
And that’s a good thing.