I recently had a discussion with my ten-year-old son, Jonah, about a game that he wanted. His objective was to have me purchase a video game that he could download on to his iPad. He knew the cost of the game ($19.99) and knew that the cost would be an issue based on prior experience. He knew that whenever he asked me for a new game, my first question would be, “Is this a free download?” He wanted the game, and wanted me to say “yes.” He knew what some of the objections would be and obviously put some thought into how and when he would ask. He also knew that if he asked me in front of his mom he would have a better chance as apparently, I say “no” a lot, while his mom is a bit more patient in evaluating each request. He brought up the subject during a family dinner and the dialogue went something like this:
Jonah: Daddy, do you remember that commercial we saw for that football game on the iPad a few weeks ago?
Me: Yes (as I raised an eyebrow suspecting what was coming next).
Jonah: Do you remember how cool the graphics were? And it has all of the new rosters for all of the teams, even the Steelers. (He knows that the Steelers are my favorite team)
Me: Yes, that’s pretty cool.
Jonah: Well they just released the game today and it’s available for download.
Jonah: Yeah…can I get it?
Me: Is it a free download? (knowing that it wasn’t).
Jonah: It’s free for you. (He smiles and pauses waiting for me to ask how.)
Me: Really, how? (I take the bait)
Jonah: Well, you know how I got the iTunes gift card for my birthday for $10.00? I can use that.
Me: That’s awesome, but how are you going to pay for the other $10.00?
Jonah: Well, I figured that you could pay for it. I mean, can you imagine both of us playing the game together? Spending quality time? Playing with the Steelers? Bonding? I would say that was worth ten bucks, wouldn’t you, Daddy? (As he finished the sentence he looked up at me with big eyes and smiled showing his dimples.)
Me: I would say so, bud. Thanks for thinking of me.
Jonah: No problem, Daddy. I just want to make sure you get quality time with me.
Now, I know that my son has watched me for many years and has consciously and subconsciously picked up on some of my methods of communication and sales tactics, but I was tickled with this interaction.
He put thought in to what he wanted.
He mentally reviewed the objections that would come and how he would overcome them.
He thought about when would be the best time and place to make his request so that he had his desired outcome.
He understood that I was the decision maker here, but also was aware of who influenced my decision making, which in this case was his mom.
He used his expressions and communication to create imagery to paint a scene that we had already experienced (seeing the commercial), and add perceived value to the item (graphics and enhanced rosters), and plant an emotional tie to my team (the Steelers).
He had a response planned to offset my cost of purchase (the iTunes card) and then presented a win for me that would justify my investment in the game (spending quality time with him).
He then used his physicality (smile and big eyes) when he asked for the game.
All in all, whether intentionally or not, he took me through a well-planned and executed proposal and close.
As we think about this example above, reflect on your own life and ask yourself if a similar situation has occurred that you can recall.
Perhaps, there is something that you asked your spouse to do and when you asked you sweetened your voice or posture?
Was there ever a time when you needed to ask your boss or staff for something and thought that you would bring them a treat or Starbucks to ensure a “yes.”
Can you recall a meeting where you wanted to get your point across, but first you offered a compliment or recognized someone’s effort prior to offering your opinion.
Some would say that in each of these situations, you manipulated the event to get your desired outcome. The word “manipulate” typically has a negative connotation as it suggests that you are influencing or taking control in an unfair or unscrupulous manner. I would say that you enabled the other person, people, or situation to be in harmony with your desired outcome. In this situation, you did this for the good of all involved, just as my son did with his game. He got what he wanted, and he created a value for me as well. Win-win.
*Excerpt from Capture Your Power in Sales and Business ©2018