Business Conversations: It Begins and Ends with Confidence
Facts are a necessary part of every business conversation, but they do not close the deal.
You cannot inspire anyone to a higher point of view than their own viewpoint. That’s why it’s essential you believe in the goal for which you advocate and why confidence is the first criteria to begin a business discussion.
In the late 1980s, a little-known Atlanta businessperson named Billy Payne dreamed of bringing the Olympics to his hometown. Privately, he worked on his dream until he had transformed it into his belief. Only then did he take his idea public, where he received smiles, polite nods, and in some cases derision behind his back. Unshaken, Payne believed in his idea, and continued to spread his vision of what could be to the movers and shakers in Atlanta, the United States, and around the world to the International Olympic Committee. Payne’s confidence was rewarded with the 1996 Summer Olympics. Without that confidence, he would have long ago abandoned his Olympic idea and returned to his business pursuits.
Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank believed they could succeed in the home improvement business despite being fired from a leading home improvement retailer. Their confidence gave birth to Home Depot. Sam Walton’s confidence created Walmart and made the Walton family billionaires. Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk … the list of recognized leaders and their confidence is endless.
But you want to know how this applies to you. You’re not trying to stage the next Olympics or build a better Walmart. All you really want is an opportunity to prove flea and tick protection is important. All you really want is an opportunity to talk about the importance of compliance. All you really want is the opportunity for that prospective hospital to choose you as their primary vendor.
The same confidence that delivered the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta and built Home Depot or Walmart can deliver the initial order, the access to the decision-influencer or the product confidence you want. By using the three “all you really want” examples mentioned previously, we will show you how to demonstrate your confidence at the beginning of the business conversation.
To the decision-maker:
“You told me you’re committed to educating clients on keeping their pets healthy year-round. Flea and tick protection is an essential part of a healthy regimen. Let me suggest some potential approaches that have successfully communicated that message. Then you can decide if these will work in your hospital.”
To the office manager:
“I’ve assisted many hospitals like yours to improve the compliance percentage with their clients. I don’t know enough about your hospital to confirm if I can do the same here. A short conversation with you and your staff will help me understand how you currently reinforce client compliance. Then I can suggest some ways to improve the messaging, and you can determine if they are appropriate for your hospital.”
To the owner:
“Being the primary vendor implies a level of trust and respect on behalf of both parties. I believe our relationship over the years has reached that level. Let me briefly review the advantages of choosing me and my company as your primary vendor then you can decide if it is appropriate to take our relationship to that level.”
Demonstrating confidence at the beginning of the business interaction is important. Facts are a necessary part of every business conversation, but they do not close the deal. Starting confidently, maintaining confidence throughout the discussion, and closing with confidence is essential. Remember that decision making is based on emotion, and confidence is the ultimate emotion.
Photo credit: istockphoto.com/metamorworks