Everyone brings two things to any interaction: Behavior and Expectations. It’s your job to observe the behavior and uncover their expectations. A client of mine shared an interesting story with me a while back about his 17 month old that really demonstrated this.
He has three boys, and was in the habit of bringing the older two with him to run errands. One night, he needed to run over to a fast food place, and decided to take his 17 month old instead.
As soon as he placed his 17 month old in his car, the kid started crying!
See, every morning, my client took his youngest son across the metro to spend the day with his grandparents. That was the extent of his experience riding in my client’s car.
So even though it was evening, his expectation was that he was being taken away from home for several hours, something he wasn’t happy about!
Although my client hadn’t planned on this, he ended up buying his son a small fries at the fast food place, and instantly his behavior changed. He knew something was different, so his expectations had changed, and his behavior reflected that.
That’s a great example of how quickly we get conditioned. Here’s someone who’s 17 months old, couldn’t speak in full sentences yet, but already had conditioning.
Think about when that person is 17, 27, 37, or 47! Not to mention when they’re a prospect. How have your prospects been conditioned?
Who’s your sales competition? It’s every other salesperson that’s called on your prospect. Not only that, but every salesperson that called on your prospect’s parents. Think about how deep that conditioning is!
Here, at 17 months, the conditioning kicks in as soon as he’s buckled into a car seat. He thinks he knows how the interaction is going to go, until the french fries appear.
Bring french fries on your sales call! Not literally, but you need some sort of pattern interrupt in order to overcome your prospect’s conditioning and have real conversations.
It may be something you say differently than everyone else, or something you do different than everyone else. But having that pattern interrupt will help overcome their conditioning, and lead to a genuine interaction.