by Michael Oliver

While looking at a townhouse I mentioned to the real estate agent that I understood the price per square foot was running around $300 as an average for all the units in the complex. (This information was given to me two evening's before by friends who live there. It was based on a 'recent' sale).

The agent responded immediately, "$300? Oh no! You're looking at least at $400 a square foot." I have no doubt she thought she meant well when she said this. However, by telling me I was wrong, she effectively distanced herself and with one sentence, lost me!

Why? Most people don't like being told they are wrong. And I'm no different. It can conjure up earlier memories of places like school, where the reward was based on getting an answer right, not for the bravery of attempting to answer a question.

What's really sad is, she didn't know she lost me. And this happens probably tens of thousands of time every day in sales transactions. Think of the waste.

Ask yourself if you might have 'lost' a lot of people without knowing it. For example, do you say these kinds of things in your personal as well as professional life?

But that stuff you're taking is full of additives.
Why would you join a young company when most of them fail in their first 5 years?
So how come you got involved with that outfit?
Why did you join them? Their compensation plan is one of the worst.
That must have been awful for you. (The same is true for - 'That must have been great for you.)
How could you like something like that?
But that stuff is cheap/expensive.
But that's a terrible color!
You won't like this, it's outdated!
The problem with the plan you're involved with is...

If you make comments like this, it's only your judgment and opinion. And if you want to draw people to you and help them explore and discover alternatives, it's imperative you suspend your opinions. Instead, find out where the other person is coming from first. You might even discover it prudent never to offer your own opinion at times!

So what could the agent have done in this case? She could have ENGAGED me in a Process of Enquiry to discover from where I got my information, or on what did I base my information. This would have allowed her to mentally compare what I knew with what she knew to allow her to work out how to possibly guide me to a different understanding if it was appropriate.

The conversation could have gone like this...

"Can I ask you where you got that information from?"
'Yes... It was given me a couple of days ago by a friend of ours who lives here."
"Do you know what type of unit he/she was talking about?"
"Actually I don't."
"Did he say around when it was sold?"
"No... he never did."

"Well, the reason I'm asking is that it sounds like a price that some of these units were selling for about a year ago. Since then the prices have risen dramatically and they're running around 400 a square foot. However, if you can find out from your friend the unit they were referring to, and when they thought it had been sold, I can do some checking for you, though I'm pretty familiar with the activity around here."

Feel the change in energy? This type of conversation would have eased me into the possible 'sticker shock' of reality. It would have engaged me by initially accepting my information as my truth and in doing so create a space of creativity (not distance) allowing us both to explore a different truth. So what can you do if you're doing something like this?

Spend the time Discovering. Use your knowledge to ask questions, and stop telling. You'll get to where you want to go much faster, if you want to take the time to find out!

Michael Oliver is an Internationally recognized trainer, speaker and author of the best selling book, "How to Sell Network Marketing Without Fear, Anxiety or Losing Your Friends!", and the founder of Natural Selling(R) Sales Training.

His teleconferencing training, coaching and on-site workshops and speeches are in demand around the world. Every year he helps thousands of Independent Distributors and Direct Salespeople achieve outstanding business and personal results.

You can find out more about Michael, his book, CD's and free newsletter by going to www.networkingtimes.com/link/moliver.

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