Oh, there go those people again. There go those Apple people. There go those Microsoft people. Oh, there go those Salesforce people. There go those Ford F-150 people. There go those Tesla people. There go those Gmail people. There go those Linux people.
Who are these people and why do they keep doing these things? What is it about that product that resonates with them so much? Might I go in there and try to change them? Change their beliefs? Do you think that’s a good idea? I mean, they’re wrong, right?
We cannot change those people. Their minds are already made up. All they’re doing now is seeking evidence that supports their already-made-up minds. They choose not to see evidence to the contrary. Once we decide on our tech, on our cars, on our houses and neighborhoods, we may as well have picked our political affiliation because this is the level of strongly-held belief we’re dealing with.
Exceptional selling will not change a Microsoft fan boy to an Apple fan boy. Ask anyone who works for Apple. Exceptional selling will not morph a long-term Ford F-150 guy into a Tesla Model S guy. Talk to the Tesla salesperson about it. Exceptional selling will not change a Kansas City Chiefs fan into a Denver Broncos fan. Ask any Broncos fan about their willingness to change tribal affiliations. No chance.
The only thing that will make those people change is a shift in their perspective, in their beliefs, in their worldview. And they have to come to see this for themselves. It has to be their idea or else it won’t stick. No ethical, external influence will work when it comes to altering our deeply-held beliefs. We’re too stubburn / too human for that to work. You must change strategies and let them come around to the change for themselves. This is the ultimate, most difficult, sales and persuasion job: pull away from the person you’re trying to influence in order for them to convince themselves of the thing you wish to happen.
How is this best done? This is largely best done by example. Being that change you wish to see in others. You lead them by your own behavior, by your own example. You showcase what is possible to them. Be that girl. Be that guy. Wear it proudly. What you are doing is exhibiting elevated status, a higher plane for others to aspire to. Note this is best performed by action rather than by words. Not only be so good that they can’t ignore you — be so good they want to become you. Be so good they would pay money just to hang around you and learn from you. Be the Mastermind behind the Mastermind.
Robert Greene wrote a chapter in The 48 Laws of Power devoted to this called ‘Act like a King to be Treated like One.’ So, act like you’re the King or Queen, and treat others like they are, too. Treat others even better than you treat yourself. Always provide value upfront with no expectation of recompense. Give. Give. Give. Develop a reputation as the best Giver. Expect nothing in return. Be desireless: want nothing from people. Be excellent in others’ presence. And then withdraw. People will be blown away by this behavior and find your actions mysterious, in a good way.
It is important to note that those people cannot be changed with argument, with words, with your air-tight logic. Their allegiance has nothing to do with logic. It has everything to do with emotion. One thing salespeople tend to undermine is the power our emotions have over us in our decisions and in our beliefs. We love to think we’re these logical people walking around all day long making our smart, savvy, logical decisions. Especially the higher up we go in organizations. C-Levels are the most logical, rational decision-makers among us, right? RIGHT?
Only we aren’t.
As Seth Godin writes, we are these emotional people walking around with noise in our heads all day long trying our best to quiet it or otherwise pretend it isn’t there, trying to make what we say are logical, rational decisions. Two wildly emotional (and perhaps repressed) people with noises going on inside their heads will have a hard time convincing one or the other that their tribe is the wrong pick. All this will do is strengthen the current allegiance.
As Sales King Jeffrey Gitomer says, “People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.” We hate to be sold others’ ideas. We prefer to buy them by coming around to them on our own. We’re too human for it to be otherwise.