When People Don’t Play Nicely With You

A couple of weeks ago, I watched two of my grandchildren, who are cousins, playing. The 3-year-old wanted to play on a small teeter-totter, the 2-year-old would not. The older one was upset about that. He liked the toy and wanted to play, but being upset about his failure, did not improve his chances much.

Even as adults, life hands us this situation regularly.

Sometimes you know an important fact and people you are trying to influence do not do what you think they should. If you want success with your plan, you need to learn persuasion skills.

There are many reasons for the other’s odd behavior and your expectations are not very important in that list. Here are some of the reasons:

  1. They know something you do not, and that reason is better than yours; at least for them.
  2. They know the same thing you know, but have discarded it as unimportant.
  3. Even if they know the reason, they don’t know how to implement.
  4. There is no urgency. They might want to do it, just not now.
  5. They cannot afford it.
  6. They don’t believe what you are telling them.
  7. They have other priorities that you have missed. They cannot do everything and have chosen a different item from the buffet.

Advisers, get over it.

If you want a hope of success, you need to get past the ever increasing shrillness of the method you have chosen. Louder repetition doesn’t work.

You can get past it in several different ways.

  • Find out where they are and how they came to be there.
  • Find out if they understand your proposal.
  • Be sure they have the resources and that using them your way does not conflict with their other priorities.
  • Understand their social style and relate to it.
  • Help with implementation, at least the first steps.
  • Offer and deliver necessary education.
  • Relate to benefits and deliver the features that relate to the benefits

Persuasion is an acquired skill. People can be lead to places that will benefit them. You cannot lead anyone to a place they don’t want to go or do not understand. Do not try. It reduces the chances of success. People reject the hard closers eventually.

if you are able to make the first sale, the method virtually eliminates long term success because you must keep reselling the plan.

Not bad advice for dating too. Tell your teenagers.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.