The Art of Not Caring, When You Do Care

By: Joe Crisara

It seems like one of those weird, counter-intuitive rules, but it’s true. Removing yourself emotionally from the outcome of a frustrating sales or service negotiation is the winning move when confronted with such a conundrum. You’ve probably been there- a wrenching, difficult interaction with someone at work. It could be a superior, an associate or a customer. Afterwards you felt exhausted and also had that electric “fight-or-flight” feeling. It’s not a good sensation, you don’t want this much drama in your life- and especially not at work.

When you feel like you’ve been through the emotional ringer after a work argument, it means that you grasped too tightly to the importance that you assigned to the result. It also means that you closed off your mind to listening to the other person’s point of view, even if it seemed totally incorrect or suspect at the outset. It seems like an impossible contradiction, but it’s not. You should care deeply about your work performance generally, but not care too much about the results of any one transaction.

It’s natural for us to mix our emotions into things that we invest out time and energy into. Even more so when those activities involve making a living and have an element of competition. The big winners in any field, however, learn to divorce themselves from the “scoreboard” as a measure of their value. They also stop seeing others’ actions as being personally against them.

A sales transaction can be emotional for the buyer, but it shouldn’t be for the seller- which is you. Train yourself not to care too much or become attached to the result of any given customer situation. Or even interactions with co-workers, suppliers or whomever. When you “need” a certain outcome too much, that desperation makes you appear as if you don’t really hold power and inarguable quality. Real quality never has to beg and scrape. Real quality can walk away today and will get more than enough jobs tomorrow. Buyers are attracted to that because people generally want to go with a winner.

Is ‘Yes’ Your Dirty, Overused Word?

Yes is a nice word and most people feel good saying it. You have to say ‘yes’ a certain amount of the time, otherwise you would never accomplish anything cooperatively with anyone. However, ‘No’ is also a very powerful and effective word and you must be ready and willing to use it, in business and in life, in order to maintain your integrity and self-respect. If you say yes to everyone and everything all the time, what are you saying about the worth of your service and products? What impression are you giving the customer? When customers expect you to act a certain way and you present the opposite, it is a very powerful thing.

It is a great exercise to tell a customer ‘No’, that you aren’t the right service provider for them, for any of the following reasons.

  • The customer wants the absolute dirt cheap lowest price even if that means slapping together some borderline, flimsy solution that you don’t feel good about.
  • The customer treats you or your company with gratuitous disrespect.
  • The supposed customer is not the decision maker, blocks you from the real decision maker or otherwise plays games using another person- real or made up- as a sticking point.

The best in any business have around 1 in 5 opportunities terminate for unavoidable reasons. Often this prospective customer never really was one. No matter what they say or how they act, if you firmly walk away they will respect you more- and you will respect you more!

Be a Mathematician Not a Soap Opera Actor

A warm, genuine smile and a human connection with your customers is good. But draw a line, know the difference between good human skills and becoming emotionally overindulgent. At a certain point in a difficult interaction, approach it like you’re a statistical researcher doing a study. Ask the customer questions, picking their brain and collecting data for the future. Your well-being does not rely upon this sale.

There are 4 possible conclusions to a difficult customer interaction and you will see where each one ends up. These are the 4 possible endings:

  1. The customer tells you ‘No,’ they don’t want your services.
  2. The customer tells you ‘Yes,’ they will be doing business with you.
  3. The customer is genuinely interested and wants some more time, in which case you set up a definite follow up appointment. The customer acts rude or dismissive or seems like they’re not really interested but doesn’t have the wherewithal to come out and tell you. They don’t want you to come back to their house and say that they’ll call you. You should probably disqualify yourself by telling them that your company simply is not the right service provider for them.

You might be surprised at what happens when you tell the buyer ‘No.’ If you’ve done your job right, and established credibility, integrity and true confidence they might actually pursue you instead of the other way around.

The best position to operate from is, is the customer worthy of you, not are you worthy of the customer. When you get away from what you need, you can really be of service to what the customer needs. It’s called letting go of your desperate need for victory. And that’s when magic really happens.

For more proven rules for success in the home services industry, attend a Total Immersion program and experience tremendous professional improvement and a rapid increase in your company’s bottom line.

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