You Don’t Have to Convince Them

Not feeling I have to convince everyone has been one of the hardest things for me to get through my thick skull.  I’m the densest guy on the planet when it comes to accepting I don’t have to convince people to move forward.   It’s hard wired in my head that if I haven’t convinced someone of my position, an idea, a philosophy, a process, an end result, a vision etc. I haven’t been successful.   It’s the sales guy in me.

In sales, you win if the prospect says yes, if they agree with you.   It’s not good enough to tell a good story or provide good information.  To be successful in sales you have to influence them to the point of a decision.  A commitment to think about it doesn’t work.  Tacit approval doesn’t work.  I agree, but later doesn’t work.  In sales we are trained to get people to say yes and anything else means your stuck until you convince them. This trait is critical in sales, but it’s not so important in leadership or relationships.

In relationships and when leading it’s about influence.  However, unlike sales you don’t have to get a yes to keep moving.  Sometimes, you have to move on without a yes and let them catch up later.  Sometimes it’s not about choice and therefore there is no need to wait for an answer or agreement. In other cases it’s OK if they DON’T agree with you.  The difference of opinion or ideas is exactly what is needed.

I struggle breaking away from my years of sales indoctrination.  I keep going until I believe I’ve convinced them.   Sometimes it’s good, the additional converstation is what was needed.  However, other times it hurts.  I don’t move until I have buy in even when it’s not needed.   I’m trying to teach myself that in relationships and leadership not everyone is going to be convinced and that it is OK to keep going.  They will eventually either catch up, or move on on their own.  Either way, it’s OK.

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