Posts

Sharon Drew Morgen

Diversity And Bias: How to Hear ‘Different’ People Differently

We all recognize diversity is important yet difficult to attain. We recognize that with diversity we’re capable of creating all that’s possible; without diversity we limit who gets heard, who gets to lead, what knowledge we deem important, what we teach our children. Indeed, mis- and under representing categories of people cost an unimaginable price in money, possibilities, and life.

People much smarter than I have evaluated the high cost of the lack of diversity. But I’d like to offer a modest way to begin the process of overriding our biases: we can shift how we listen.

Biases Are Silent, Stealthy Executioners

While researching my new book (What? Did you really say what I think I heard?I learned that the listening process involves 1. our ears collecting and funneling the sounds of words spoken, then 2. our brain (using our unique, cultural, and historic beliefs, values, rules, etc.) interprets meaning from the sounds.

Biases and assumptions occur when our brain notices ‘differences’ it deems ‘unsafe’ (judged against our status quo), causing automatic prejudice outside conscious awareness. I heard Malcom Gladwell, the noted author of Blink say in an interview that when tested for unconscious racial bias, his results revealed something like a 53% bias against African-Americans – and he’s half black. We end up living and thinking in bubbles of our own making. The ideas, the capability, the innovation that gets lost is unimaginable.

At a dinner party once a man at my table discussed what I knew to be a naïve idea in my area of expertise. I ‘kindly’ explained to him the error of his ways. He merely smiled. Afterwards I learned that I had been admonishing a Nobel Laureate (in a different field than mine). Had I known that, I might have listened to his ideas as merely different or even interesting. Ditto if he knew I was a noted expert on the topic. Maybe together we could have changed the world in a unique and wonderful way. Instead, we listened to the other with biased, judging, ego-filled ears. What would we each have needed to believe differently to be able to hear each other without restriction?

On another occasion my biases potentially kept the world from glorious music. Visiting an ill friend at a nursing home recently I chatted with the orderly on staff. Whatever he heard me say motivated him to ask me to mentor him. I’m embarrassed to admit I declined. Thankfully he persisted. I went to his place for a lovely dinner, serenaded by a CD of his wonderous compositions! I coached him going forward, to find funding to make his music available to the public. But I almost missed that opportunity because I immediately judged him negatively.

Listen Without Bias

Realizing a part of the problem in judging others as ‘different’ lies with how we interpret what we hear, we can take steps to recognize when we are judging, biasing, or assuming, and then supersede our brain’s natural tendencies and listen neutrally:

  • Enter conversations with a bias of listening for all that’s possible.
  • Notice when we begin hearing differences or an internal judgment, and return to concentrating on what’s really being meant.
  • When our internal voice begins judging, reducing, disparaging, or condemning, pose the question to your internal self: what would I hear if I only heard what this person wants to share with me?

It’s not easy, as our brains are neurologically designed to hear what keeps us comfortable. But if we can at least aspire to hearing what others have to share, we can be further along the path of diversity and avoiding limitations.


About the Author

Sharon Drew Morgen is founder of Morgen Facilitations, Inc. (www.newsalesparadigm.com). She is the visionary behind Buying Facilitation®, the decision facilitation model that enables people to change with integrity. A pioneer who has spoken about, written about, and taught the skills to help buyers buy, she is the author of the acclaimed New York Times Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity and Dirty Little Secrets: Why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it.

To contact Sharon Drew at [email protected] or go to www.didihearyou.com to choose your favorite digital site to download your free book.

Jeffrey Gitomer

Who is the real decision maker? Find out or lose the sale.

The prospect tells you, “I only need one more approval and the order is yours.”

For joy, for joy – the order is mine! – Eh, eh, eh – don’t celebrate too soon. The one last person needed to approve, is the real decision maker. The boss. The guy you were supposed to be talking to in the first place. The one person who can say “no,” and there’s no possibility of reversing it. Rut-row.

Throw some water on yourself, pal. This sale hangs by a thread – and what are you doing about it? Going home and bragging “it’s in the bag,” or saying over and over – “I hope I get it, I hope I get it?” Neither will work.

Here’s what to do: The words “I only need one more approval and the order is yours” must trigger your response to the prospect – “Great, when do we all meet?”

Get the prospect to agree to let you attend the final decision meeting.

If you’re not present when the last decision is made – odds are you will lose the final battle of the sales war without being able to fire one bullet.

Try this: (In a non-salesy, friendly way), say to the prospect, “I’m an expert at what I do, and, Mr. Jones, you’re an expert at what you do. Surely as you discuss our service, questions about productivity and profitability will arise. I’m sure you agree that the right information needs to be presented so that the most intelligent decision can be made, true? (get commitment)

And questions might arise about our service. I’d like to be there to answer questions about my expertise so you can make a decision that’s in the best interest of your business.” (If this fails, try adding on the phrase – “Pleeeeaaase, I’ll be your best friend.”)

If the prospect (customer) agrees to the meeting, he or she considers you a resource, a partner. They trust you. If they don’t agree to let you in the meeting – they just consider you a salesperson.

When others need to ‘final approve’ the deal, besides learning to know the buying process better, you must take these five action steps or the sale is in jeopardy…
1. Get the prospect’s personal approval. “Mr. Prospect, if it was just you, and you didn’t need to confer with anyone else, would you buy?” (The prospect will almost always say yes). Then ask, “Does this mean you’ll recommend our service to the others?” Get the prospect to endorse you and your service to the others, but don’t let him (or anyone) make your pitch for you.
2. Get on the prospect’s team. Begin to talk in terms of ‘we,’ ‘us,’ and ‘the team.’ By getting on the prospect’s team, you can get the prospect on your side of the sale.
3. Arrange a meeting with all decider’s. Do it any (ethical) way you have to.
4. Know the prime decider in advance. “Tell me a little bit about the others.” (Write down every characteristic). Try to get the personality traits of the other deciders.
5. Make your entire presentation again. You only have to do this if you want to make the sale. Otherwise just leave it to the prospect. He thinks he can handle it on his own, and will try his best to convince you of that.

If you think you can get around these five steps, think again. (It’s obvious you’re looking for shortcuts or you would have known the buying process in the first place.)

If you make the mistake of letting your prospect become a salesperson on your behalf (goes to the boss or group instead of you), you will lose. Most every time.

Here’s 2.5 ounces of prevention (for next time):
1. Qualify the decision maker as the ‘only’ by asking a seemingly innocent question at the beginning of your presentation – “Is there anyone else you work with (confer with, bounce things off of) on decisions (situations) like this?” The object is to find out if anyone else is involved in the decision BEFORE you make your presentation.
2. Prevent the situation from occurring by saying in your initial presentation: “If you’re interested in our ——-, when we’re finished, would it be possible to meet the CEO and chat about it?”
2.5 The most powerful qualifying question you can ask is (AND IT MUST BE ASKED EXACTLY THIS WAY): “Bill, how will this decision be made?” Bill will give you an answer. AND YOU FOLLOW UP WITH THE QUESTION: “Then what?” And Bill will begin to give you the saga about how the decision is really made. You ask “then what?” four or five times and PRESTO!, you’ll have the name of the real decision maker.

The number of sales you make will be in direct proportion to the number of actual decision-makers you sit in front of. The problem with most salespeople (not you of course) is that they are sitting in front of someone who has to ask their mommy or daddy if they can buy it or not.

Real salespeople sit in front of real decision-makers. How real are you?


About the Author

Jeffrey GitomerJeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

The Evolution of Enterprise Social Collaboration

organizational collaborationEnterprise social collaboration tools can be a powerful means to support employees in their daily business, also helping them foster cross-company collaboration. This infographic from AgreeYa Solutions provides a comprehensive introduction to the world of enterprise social collaboration. Review the illustration to learn more about enterprise social collaboration and how it can enhance business-wide productivity.

The image to the right is just a small snippet of the whole infographic. Click here to download a full-size version of this infographic.