Several years ago, I was hiking in the mountains around Tucson, Arizona with a friend who had referred me to one of his clients, the CEO of a software company. I had completed the initial part of the contract where my company created the go to market position, message and strategy for this start up and we were negotiating the next stage of our relationship.
As my friend and I were hiking, I was asking for advice on how to best negotiate because I felt I was a little out of my depth. The CEO was an experienced deal-maker and a hard negotiator so I was worried that I would agree to something that would turn out to be unfavorable for my company.
I’ll never forget what my friend said as we were enjoying the view from the top of the mountain, overlooking the desert. “Teresa, there’s one thing to remember in any interaction. Someone’s the buyer and someone’s the seller. You have to decide which one you’re going to be.”
What a great piece of advice! I’d like to say I always remember these words, but I will at times forget until after the fact. That’s when I slap my forehead and say to myself, “You were just sold!” It may be buying into excuses of why something didn’t or can’t get done, why someone is too busy for an appointment, or why a client can’t go forward with a purchase. The bottom line is that someone else was more persuasive than me, and I bought what they were selling.
And….. I didn’t get the result I wanted.
When I look carefully at those incidents, I can trace the cause to not having sufficient conviction or confidence about my own agenda. I had doubts, felt some insecurities, or wasn’t sufficiently committed.
And therefore, I didn’t fully persuade myself!
The beginning point to being the seller in any interaction is to first persuade oneself. If you don’t, you became vulnerable to someone else’s ability to convince.
Now sometimes, I want to be sold. In fact, there are times when it gives me great pleasure. Those are typically times when I’m not attached to the result. But the times when something is at stake, that simple question of whether I’m the buyer or the seller can be enough of a catalyst to do what is necessary to sharpen my persuasive powers.