Acknowledging the Gorilla
Written by Harlan Goerger
With the new book, Bypassing No in Business being released in a few weeks, I thought a taste would be good gift to you. Here is one chapter from the book! This chapter demonstrates how to deal with negative situations using persuasion and body...
“All problems become smaller if you don’t dodge them but confront them. Touch a thistle timidly, and it pricks you; grasp it boldly and its spines crumble.”
Carol just took over an existing account, but things have not been going well with the client. Many issues in the past are not addressed and are festering.
She makes an appointment with the main buyer and asks if their boss can attend as well as some others involved in the services provided.
Tuesday AM, Carol meets Jim the main contact, and they walk to the meeting room where three other people join them.
“This is Carol with BBB and she is here to discuss the services they have been providing.” Is Jim’s introduction.
Carol notes some facial changes to a neutral rather than smile in two of the people and Tony crosses his arms and frowns a bit. She realizes there may be more here than she first thought.
“It is great to be here and thank you for taking the time from your busy schedules to meet. I am new to this account and have done an extensive review of the interactions between your organization and ours.”
“I realized in my review that not all has been smooth and there have been more than a few issues from your perspective. My sole purpose today is to place each of these issues on the table, determine what might be done to address the past and assure they do not occur in the future.”
(Carol is standing with her arms open and her hands with open palms facing upward. This is a very open and safe stance. Her very slight smile fits where broad grin would not be in good taste and a frown would send the wrong signal. Her eyes are open wide and her eyebrows slightly raised in a recognition mode as she looks at each person. (“Liz” is reading safe.)
(Carol is applying “Acknowledge the resistance” or putting the Gorilla on the table. Most tend to avoid such issues and try to overcome them by piling up benefits or convincing the other party, “Liz” knows better. Carol has done this twice, in her opening statement and now by “this may be uncomfortable”.)
(As Carol views the group, she sees the crossed arms unfold and clasp together on the table, Tony’s frown changes to biting the lower lip and eyes gazing downwards, others place their hands on the table as well and lean forward. Two open their notebooks and take out pens. These are all positive changes in Carol’s favor.)
Control & Directing:
“Which would be your preference, should I put each on the table or would you prefer to each provide your view in your own words so we get the true picture?”
(By providing an option and placing the “true picture” with them speaking, she has placed a higher value on them speaking.)
“I’ll start first.” said Joan. Carol now seats herself so she is at the same level as the rest and pulls out her pad and pen. She keeps a neutral and open stance, her eyes are open and in contact with a neutral slight smile.
As Joan unloads her frustrations with the past situations, Carol encourages her to, “Tell me more about that? Help me understand that better? What did that cause to happen?” Joan continues to unload showing very aggressive body language, her hands waving and even a clinched fist at one point. Carol maintains her open and connected stance. Once Joan is finished, she sighs and the tension in her body disappears. She sits back relaxed and open. (The Gorilla has left the room!)
(By acknowledging, the resistance (gorilla) up front and expressing a willingness to talk about it, most resistance disappears or is greatly reduced. “Liz” goes into netural mode.)
Carol thanks Joan for her openness and passion for getting results. Joan nods her head yes and smiles, so do the others except for Tony.
As the others express their views, the intensity is subdued in comparison to Joan and Carol continues to listen, encourage and maintain her open stance, eye contact, slight smile and open eyes with raised eyebrows. Each goes very well and the issues are all on the table. (More Gorillas have left the room, not as crowded now!)
Carol has noted Tony is still tense and somewhat closed in his body stance. He has not made a great deal of eye contact with Carol throughout the meeting. He is the only one that has not expressed his viewpoints.
“Tony, I’m sensing a bit of tension and wonder if you would be willing to express your thoughts as the others have? I’m here to listen and get the truth with your help.”
Tony takes a deep breath, lays his arms and hands alongside his paper and looks at his pad. He continues this body stance as he unloads how he feels and the frustrations that have been pent up over this. Carol continues her open stance and eye contact, even though Tony is not, and continues to encourage him to say more. As the rant begins to subside, Tony starts making eye contact with Carol and the others and you can see his body tension beginning to subside. As Tony finishes he sinks back into his chair, arms by his side, sighs and a slight smile of relief. (The last Gorilla, begrudgingly leaves the room!)
Carol now has pages full of notes, which she quickly reviews and provides a brief summary of what she feels can be done immediately to address most of the issues. Others will take more effort and Carol asks; “On these issues how do you see or feel a cooperative effort might work?”All agree that a cooperative effort is needed and that they have internal issues they need to deal with as well. They ask Carol if she could assist them in some way and she agrees to do so.
(Note the power of the open question versus telling them or a closed type question. Because it is their idea, they are now committed to the solutions not just compliant.)
As the others leave the meeting, they are laughing and smiling as though life was great. Tony asks Carol to hold up a minute.
“Carol, I greatly appreciate the way you handled this and you have shown me how competent you are. I am in charge of this entire effort and we have some additional needs for your services. When Jim set this up, my intention was to cancel everything, including your services, but felt one more chance was in order. Can you come back on Friday morning and discuss the further services we will be needing?”
What do you suppose Carol’s response was?
How was Carol able to Bypass No in this situation?
Carol succeeded in being perceived as more credible; trust worthy and as a partner instead of a salesperson. Now be a competitor and try to get this business away from her!
Your turn to Bypass No! Credits to Dr. Eric Knowles and his studies on resistance.
There you go, this is one chapter out of 30, each filled with specific tools, insights and applications. What could you do with 30 new tools on Influence and Body Language in your tool kit?
Get your order in by emailing HG@AskHG.com