Whenever we speak with anyone new …

Whenever we speak with anyone new (or come across anything new), they instinctively determine answers for these questions:

  • Do I feel safe? YES / NO
  • Do I sense reward? YES / NO
  • Is the person / source credible? YES / NO
  • Is the information useful? YES / NO
  • Is the person / information interesting? YES / NO

Think of these questions as filters that anything new has to make it through in order for a person to really pay attention to whatever it is. Business, personal, doesn’t matter. Marketing? Sales? First dates? First time meeting your kid’s teacher at open house? First time meeting your neighbors? First time meeting your new doctor? Doesn’t matter.

If there is a NO for any single one of them, you will instinctively tune out whatever or whoever it is. You’ll either simply disregard the information and ignore it, or if it’s a new person, you’ll pretend like you’re listening – but meanwhile, your mind is on other things and all you can think about is escaping the encounter.

A person’s personality doesn’t even really come into play at first, especially considering how naturally guarded we are when we come across anything or anyone new. We all tend to fake it at first, right? We all put our best foot forward and suit it up and show up 15 minutes prior at first, but we all know how that will wear off after a while.

So, set the personalities aside, and understand that if you make it through the first :28 seconds and the other person has instinctively answered YES to those instinctive concerns, then they will want to work with you because they feel safe and they feel like they’re working with someone who can actually help them out.

And then after that (and it could be as little as 120 seconds after that), if it just so happens that your personalities align, then that’s just icing on the cake at that point, really.

Of course, I’m not saying that personalities don’t matter, but what I am saying is that if you make it past the first :28 seconds and there’s a NO for anyone of those instinctive questions, then alignment of your personalities doesn’t matter at that point. Neither does your expertise, when you think about it.

Like, think about how your expertise may never have the opportunity to shine through if you rub people the wrong way in the first :28 seconds of your initial encounter.

So really, what I’m showing you throughout all of this is how to strategically diffuse trust bombs before they have a chance to detonate – by mapping out where and what the hazards are – and then I’ll give you the framework on how to safely navigate them.

I see this as no different than turning your GPS on prior to taking a road trip. Like, why in the world would anyone just point their vehicle in the direction of (San Diego) and just hope they get there in a decent time? Like, that makes no sense to me considering how we all know that the quickest route from Point A to Point B is as straight of a line as possible. Why spend 16 hours on the road when you can spend 6, right?

Everything I’m mapping out is pretty simple to understand, too, but I know that if you were pulled into a conference room with some stranger consultant-guy for 90 minutes, much like what I experienced all those years ago, it wouldn’t be enough to do these concepts justice. Those were great ideas, too, but the organization experienced failure to launch with the rollout because no one really seemed to understand the “why” behind it all.

Come to think of it, I think it’s possible that the trainer didn’t even understand the “why” behind it all, and I really don’t know what the best execution plan would be for rolling those concepts out, either, asides from scrapping everything and starting fresh (which I know isn’t exactly an option for most organizations). Or writing an actual book, I guess.

I had success with this communication framework several organizations later, but it took time and it took having the right people, and I can tell you this: because of it, we got to a level of performance that was just amazing!

Everyone on my team knew exactly what they were doing and why; the quality of work was indistinguishable from team member to team member; and the quality of experience that they provided was consistently excellent and replicable from rep to rep, and we could tell because the calls all ended in a very predictable manner.

Potential clients would literally be relieved (you could tell by their tonality) to know that there was a chance that we could help them, and they’d sincerely thank us for following up with them and getting them pointed in the right direction. They would happily move to the next step in the sales process and work with our Account Executives, and our Account Execs were happy because they received leads who were happy to speak with them who had a legitimate need for the solutions we provide.

And by having everything broken down and mapped out, I was able to onboard new team members and have them fully functional and sounding like they had been with the organization for years after only being there for several weeks.

This made it where we were all aligned on the best way to do things versus having a system of chaos where everyone was doing things differently, and we resided, organizationally-speaking, at the top of the sales funnel; it all started with my team.

And I told them on a regular basis that: “I’m not interested in doing things differently, because we can always do things differently … I’m interested in doing things the best way possible!”

So, if anyone had suggestions on how to do things better, we would test whatever it was out, and if it withstood scrutiny and proved to be better than what we were currently doing, we would all adopt and align on it, and that way, everyone had the best ammunition for the fight. After a while, it got to a point where it was all running like a finely-tuned machine and, as the manager, I had the easiest job in the world. It took a lot of work to get there, though.

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