I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it happened in 1992. I was working for a car rental company that had a branch office in a car dealership. One day, I walked by the sales manager’s office and saw a poster on the wall that had this story:
“The young car salesman tried and tried to close a deal. But he couldn’t get it done. After the customer left, he walked into the break room and said to his manager in frustration, ‘Well, I guess it’s like they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink’. The wise old manager replied, ‘Your job isn’t to make the horse drink, your job is to make him thirsty’”.
“Make the horse thirsty”. Think about that phrase for a moment. We’ll come back to it.
In the meantime, let me ask you a few questions: Do you have the need to get other people to do what you want them to do? Do you have the need to get other people to see things from your point of view? Do you have the need to influence? The need to persuade?
Of course you do!
So how do you do it? You “make the horse thirsty”. When you are trying to persuade someone to do what you want them to do, don’t twist their arm. Don’t pressure them. Don’t try to bludgeon them over the head with your demands.
Make them thirsty. But how?
To paraphrase Dale Carnegie, you talk in terms of what they want. You paint a vivid “word picture” of how they will benefit when they do what you want them to. You show them how their life will be better.
Let’s say you are a sales rep or business owner trying to make a sale. The first thing you do is forget the stereotypical image of the glib, fast-talking, high-pressure salesman. You don’t talk on and on and on about your product. You do something very different. You learn about them. You ask questions. You gently probe to try and find what their problems and goals are in relation to your offering.
You talk less. Much less. And you listen more. MUCH more!
In glowing, vivid terms, you discuss with them the pain and frustration of their current situation. Then you give them hope. Hope that you can solve their problem and help them reach their cherished goal.
There’s more to influence and persuasion than this, of course. I’ll use this blog to offer you proven ideas to help you win in life and business by becoming more persuasive, but use this idea as a starting point.
Don’t try to make the horse drink. Feed him little “salt nuggets” that make him thirsty.
You will win. Your customer will win. And you will both be a lot happier.
How awesome would that be?!
Here’s to your success!