I remember my dad’s advice at a young age – the best way to ensure mediocrity is to attempt to make everyone happy. It reminds me of a quote from Aristotle, “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”
It seems as if you are taught early in your career, the customer is always right is rule #1. And rule # 2 is when the customer is wrong, read rule #1. That is instilled into us early and often in our career and in my humble opinion – it sets us up to be doormats.
Miller Heiman talks about how our relationships with clients fit into one of 4 quadrants – win/win, win/lose, lose/win and lose/lose.
We know we want to live in the first quadrant, but yet often set ourselves up for one of the others through expectations that are established. We then second guess or undermine our own position, try to anticipate what the other person wants and in general make life much harder than it has to be.
Here are a few ideas I myself continue to work towards in win/win relationships.
- Know when I win. Whenever I am looking at an opportunity, I am thinking about what does a great outcome look like for me. This seems simple but often times we think of a superficial outcome without really looking deeper into the implications. Think of the really really big client that could represent a lot of revenue or income to you personally, but limits your ability to find any other accounts. You may end up losing in the end due to distractions through taking it on.
- Don’t create the other person’s win. Ask the questions, explore what they are actually looking to accomplish. Don’t overthink your way out of an opportunity. I have so many people not even approach an influencer because they think they don’t have anything to offer. Successful people win at many levels beyond immediate financial gain and are very good at looking long term into what a win looks like for them. Ask, you will be surprised with what you discover.
- Not everyone lives for you to win. I have encountered many individuals who feel they have to win at someone else’s expense. They live life with a scarcity mentality rather than a life of abundance. For them they see limited resources. Not limitless. You are looking for those with abundance. Recognize when you are in a non-winning position with someone who isn’t motivated by you winning, but losing, and move on.
- Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense no matter how hard you try. I have found myself investing blood, sweat and tears to help someone win when it just wasn’t going to happen. These can represent those terribly painful situations you find yourself in trying to help a personal friend or family member. Find the best possible outcome, refer them to someone who can help them find their win/win and move on.
My best lessons come from the school of hard knocks. I wish it didn’t take the mistakes to experience the lessons, but if someone else can learn from a mistake on my part, it was worth the pain. I hope you will always find win/win in your relationships, or learn to quickly recognize the alternate reality – and exit it!
Make it a great day and I wish you Good Selling!