John Gray has been described as the best-selling relationship author of all time, his Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus selling more than 30 million copies in over 40 languages throughout the world. Dr. Gray has appeared on every media stage from Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America and The View to Politically Incorrect and Larry King. He has been profiled in Newsweek, Time, Forbes, USA Today, TV Guide and People. And heres the best part: the good doctor is not only a certified family therapist, he is also a card-carrying network marketer. JDM
You say we knew we were different in the 50s. Whats the difference
between then and now?
In the 50s and before, we knew men and women were different, but we didnt understand each other and we really didnt care. But in the 80s and 90s, now that we were starting to work together on more of an equal playing field instead of living in different worlds, we needed to learn how to communicate.
Where are we today in our ability to communicate?
I think our communication skills have dramatically improved. In sales, for example, the old intimidation factor just doesnt work any more. People see through those old manipulation techniques.
What people want today is someone who truly hears your need, demonstrates that they care about your need, and is confident and capable to meet your need. Successful people have learned to communicate those messages. Those who arent successful, havent.
How are mens and womens needs different in business?
Ill generalize and say, When youre dealing with a woman or with a man, but at the same time, its really a question of whether youre connecting with someones female side or male side. The female side of us needs three messages.
The first message says, I care about you and how the outcome of this affects you; youre not just a business deal. This message demonstrates caring and sincerity.
Back in 1994 and 95, when Men Are from Mars started hitting mainstream, there was a huge shift in advertising, particularly with banks and financial advisors. The advertising message shifted to, Were a bank that cares Were a people-person bank Youre special at our bank, we have a relationship with you.
And this was consciously aimed at women?
Yes, because now women were starting to become more centrally involved with money.
The second message is understanding. When youre dealing with a woman, you want to take more time to let her know you understand where shes coming from. You accomplish this by asking more questions and being very patient if she has objections.
The same is true when youre communicating with anyones female side, man or woman.
The third message is respect. We all want respect, but women are particularly sensitive to this message. Am I being respected as an equal? Am I being looked down at, dismissed, or excluded? You need to assure her that in your mind, she is number one. This can be as simple an issue as calling her back when you say you will.
A friend recently went on a long road trip to visit someones home, and told me, I cant believe itwhen I got there, they didnt even offer me a glass of water! And I chuckled to myselfbecause I would have done the same thing! I probably would have figured, if they wanted a glass of water, they would have asked.
But women often dont ask. Theyre waiting for you to demonstrate that you are considerate of them, that youre going to offer that glass of water. Women often feel more resistant to asking for what they want, and can tend to be more inhibited about expressing their resistance to something.
Which relates to the network marketing conversation.
Exactly. They might politely say, Ill think about it, and the truth is, its over. But if you allow them to talk and express their resistance and their considerations, theyll more easily be led to the place where they feel trust.
So you need to demonstrate to them that you want to listen?
Thats right. Its a matter of learning to communicate in a way where you successfully convey your true feelings and meet their needs.
Women know instinctively how to talk to other women; men dont instinctively know how to do that. Its not that men dont care, or dont want to respect women. Its that they dont have a lot of manners, so to speak. They dont instinctively understand how to communicate how much they care, understand and respect.
If you take a few extra steps to give these messagesI care, I understand, I respectthat builds trust, which in turn builds a strong business relationship.
Arent these messages also important for men to hear?
Of coursebut theyre not the most important.
What are the messages men most need to hear?
First, the need to feel trusted. To feel that hes regarded as having good ideas. Women need this too, but its more important for men.
A few years ago I worked with a very successful group of women who were consulting with CEOs. The CEOs really liked working with these women because they never challenged the male ego. They would say things like, You probably already know this, but let me explain the exact protocol we need in this situation
They took special consideration never to present themselves as more confident or capable than the man. At the same time, they never held themselves as incompetent.
That seems like a delicate balance.
It is, thats the subtlety here. The old-fashioned, pre-1960s way women would function within a mans life was by positioning herself as submissive, insecure and incompetent. Im the frail little woman, I cant do anything. That poses no threat to the mans ego; he can ride in on a white horse and solve her problem.
But as a successful woman today, you have to maintain a message to the man that you trust his judgment, that you see him as completely capable and competentand at the same time, youre also quite capable and competent.
The second message men need is acceptance: you are allowing the person to be the way he is and not trying to change him. Sometimes women will give unsolicited advice on how to improve a man.
Again, highly relevant to the network marketing conversation.
Absolutely. Lets say you have a product that will make peoples lives better. You may start suggesting how what you have will improve him, and before long hes thinking, Wait a minute, Im fine the way I am!
Whenever you give an improving message to a man, You should do this and this, you run the risk of evoking a defensive reaction.
And this isnt just about biological males; all of us have a male side.
Thats right. You dont walk up to anyone, male or female, and say, Hey, youre overweight, you should try this product.
Or, Hey, its obvious youre broke and a loser, you really
need my opportunity!
Exactly! You want to point out benefits in such a way that he can make a choice to look into it, but youre not criticizing or putting down where he is now.
At the same time, you also have to communicate the message, Im competent, Im an expert. I know something you dont know. I also see that youre quite capable, that youre doing just fine as you areand now Im going to provide this opportunity for you.
Sounds like a fine line of communication.
It iswhich is why only certain people are successful.
You asked why the Mars/Venus books were so successful. In a nutshell, my answer is this: Because I dont make men wrong. I tell women, Hey, theyre from Mars! This is the way they are, this is how they do things.
For communication to work, there has to be an underlying premise that theres nothing fundamentally wrong with the other person, that you see him as quite capable and competent.
And the third message for men?
The third message men look for is appreciation. Wow, thats a good idea, or, Oh, hey, great to see you!
Women often have an edge here because they tend to have a much greater capacity to appreciate. If a womans glad to see a man, shell say so: Oh, its so nice to see you and talk to you! And the man will automatically feel, Hey, I want to do business with this woman! She appreciates me!
And the truth is, when he goes home later that day to his wife, chances are, he doesnt get that response. He may be in a relationship at home where, when he asks for help, he gets the message that somethings wrong with him.
Do men have a similar edge in dealing with women in business?
They do, simply because women are often in a situation where their husbands dont listen to them and just try to fix every problem they have.
When a man can provide that kind of listening attention in a business context, thats very special. Likewise, its very powerful when a woman can be very non-critical of a man and see him as competent, but also be very helpful and supportive.
In this business, the prospecting conversation is where the rubber meets
the road. And thats where weve often generated a bad reputation
by beating people over the head with our three-foot ruler. Where do we go wrong
in this communication?
One big problem in relationships is offering people unsolicited advice. If they want the help, theyre glad to get it. If theyre asking for help, theyre glad to receive it. If theyre not asking, then it can be offensive to offer it.
And thats where network marketing gets a bad rap?
Thats it. Right now, Im looking out my car window at a woman in the parking lot whos overweight. I have a program that will help her lose weight. Im a caring person, I know the program I use works. And I think, Wow, I could just hop out of my car and tell her about it!
Whats more, I can see that shes driving a car thats not so nice. I could say, Hey, if you lost weight, you could share this with other people and be very successful and even drive a nicer car!
Oh yeah, thatll work!
And thats exactly the open-hearted, sincere enthusiasm that network marketing people have. But if shes not open to this, shell just feel offended!
To make things worse, people who are not open to new opportunities often are also uncomfortable saying, No, especially if they know you. So theyll sort of go along with you. They dont know how to say, Look, Im not interested in what youre telling meplease stop talking to me!
So, network marketers have to be sensitive to when someone is open and when they are not.
Yes, but its not that simple. Being sensitive by itself wont get you anywhere!
Lets take the example of dating. Theres a classic kind of insensitive guy who will just hit on women right and left. All the subtle hints you give, that youre not interested, just dont seem to faze him. Now, heres the amazing thing: those obnoxious guys often get more dates than the other guys! How could this possibly be?
First of all, the obnoxious guy is not even aware that the woman is saying, Go away! When she says, No, he literally doesnt hear it! No doesnt mean No on Marsit means, Not yet. Women give subtle messages that sound really loud on Venus, but often arent even audible on Mars.
The same thing happens with prospecting. The guy says, Hey, look, you should try this, and the other person gives all these subtle messages, Go away, Im not interested, dont bother me with this. But the guy can be persistent and make the sale, precisely because hes not sensitive to these rejection clues.
And by the way, although Im describing men as aggressive, women can be, too. This is a more male characteristicand again, we all have our male sides.
Now, Im not saying its good to be obnoxious. But theres something we can learn from the obnoxious guy. You can make your pitch, and then listen to the other persons resistancejust listen, without resisting back. And when you do, youve made a friend.
I often hear top network marketers describe how they were introduced to the program and say something like, He just didnt let up! He just kept calling. He wasnt outright obnoxiousbut he just kept encouraging me to look at it.
Theres a subtlety at play here. Make sure you listen to what the other person says, and then dont push back against it. If you do care, and you really believe in what you have, then theres no harm in revisiting the issue again and again, because you do care.
And ironically, that type of persistence can actually help build trust. On a certain level, the female side of all of us feels cared for when someone persists.
Fascinating balance youre describing!
Yes, and achieving this balance is precisely what makes people successful in network marketing.
The secret is that the caring is sincere. Part of what gives network marketing a bad rap is when people act friendly and interested, but are actually focused on closing their friend in the deal. The other person senses this and starts to think, Does this person really like meor do they just want me to sign up?
Thats the subtlety. You have to come from your heart, be sincere, be authentic, share a little bit about yourself, and if they show interest, then you can start telling them more.
There seems to have been such a shift in peoples priorities since
9/11. Where do you see us as a culture right now, in terms of our life priorities?
I see us as having taken a step backwards. Everything in nature takes a few steps forward, then steps back a bit before moving forward again.
Before 9/11, we were moving toward a higher level of society; our priorities were shifting towards love, relationships, abundance, success and fairness. The personal growth movement was booming and there was a broad optimism. Then 9/11 came, and everyone backed down to a lower level of need, which is security and survival.
These are the basic distinctions in Maslows hierarchy of needs. The lowest, most basic level is survival. Once youre surviving, then you start to worry about what you have, which is security. Once youve got survival and security handled, then you come back to wanting to achieve and to mate, to have relationships.
After this comes attention to fairness and respect, what Maslow calls esteem. Finally, when these other levels of need are satisfactorily looked after, we start to place our priorities on actualization, which means fulfilling our lifes purpose.
In the last few years, society has slipped back a bit to focusing on the basic levels of survival and security. But now weve moved back into accomplishment and achievement, and love and relationship are starting to be a resurging interest. We are starting to sense a return to the kinds of values people have when theyre living at peace.
Weve hunkered down in the dark, and now were coming back into
Yes, I think so. Weve been experiencing a type of winter, and were just now about to enter spring again.