This past Sunday on a flight to San Francisco, I had the privilege of sitting next to Jim Plunkett, who led the Raiders (first Oakland, then LA) to two Super Bowl wins, and who also played for the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots during his career. I remember watching Jim play in the ‘80s and marveling at his character, his skills, and the attitude he brought to the game. On Sunday I seized the opportunity to ask Jim what leadership lessons he gained from his days as a QB. He said the biggest lesson he learned was that you cannot treat everyone the same—that you need to communicate to each person differently based on their behaviors, motivations, and so forth. Still, he said, everyone needs to perform.
This lesson from the football field holds true in sales and influence. One of my primary messages as a Sales and Leadership expert is that you cannot present your services and arguments the same way to each customer or person you are trying to influence. People buy for different reasons. Before telling others why they need to do something, you need to uncover three critical pieces of information:
- What are they trying to accomplish?
- Why is it important to them?
- What is at stake if they don’t achieve it?
Their answers to these questions represent their motivations. With that understanding in place, you can present what you have to offer within the CONTEXT of what is important to them. When you follow this formula, you dramatically increase the chance that they will accept your offer.
To take it one step further, present your offer in a way they will want to hear it. Some people want a lot of detail, some don’t. Some want testimonials of how it works for others, and some want to know the process of how it will work. When you understand how they want the information communicated, you further increase your ability to influence others.
Jim Plunkett was a championship quarterback because he knew how to lead and he knew he was playing a team sport. Like Jim, your success lies in your ability to get others to do what you need them to do. If you need help learning how to influence others to accept your requests, call me.