Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Values, Needs and Relationships

Last night I attended a meeting to plan a community-wide appeal - petitioning neighbors to support a new zoning overlay. At stake: a positive, arts-based initiative that most people will support at face value. The goal is significant - two-thirds must support the initiative - yet very achievable.

During the meeting, one well-intentioned and passionate volunteer consistently used militaristic terminology to outline his desired approach to the task. He used terms like "lemmings", "sheep" and "obstacles" to describe his neighbors and "target", "slaughter" and "attack" to frame the actions required. He's a decent person and I'm not certain he was aware of the impression he created.

Sometimes sales people (or those tasked with a specific objective) forget the real opportunity: to develop and nurture relationships, using actions and words that stimulate positive, productive interactions well into the future.

Consider this approach: Use language and actions that are common to your audience's  values. Map the benefits of any initiative to the needs of the community and make it the #1 goal to develop stronger relationships through a shared sense of purpose.

Perhaps the group could utilize terms like "porches", "local economy", "creative", "party", "friends", "exciting", "opportunity", and "shared values" to re-frame the discussion.  Words and actions like these are more likely to win converts and result in both short-term and long-term gains.

As most of us already know, there is greater opportunity to convince someone to accept a new idea or try a new product when they do not feel they have a target painted on their back. (One person down. On to the next...)

Check out this concept further in my book... Selling The Moment: Values, Needs, and Relationships: Turning Ordinary Sales into a Lifetime of Success 

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