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Customers to Avoid – Unresolved Conflict (#12-31-13) Newsletter #148

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Sat, Jan 4, 2014

Recent evolutions in my life have focused my attention on the people I wish to spend time with.  In the last year I spent in radio a call from a representative of Jacques Werth’s High Probability Selling sparked my attention.  His system promised significant help with making phone contact with prospects, specifically cold calling.  His methods were good; however the greatest value I received from his process occurred in the conversion process.  There were specific prospects he recommended that you wanted to avoid at all costs.  They were the reason for major challenges in customer service.   These are prospects who have unresolved conflict.  unresolved conflict resized 600His methods may be controversial and difficult to achieve in every business.  Despite this there is still reason today to be able to identify prospects who have unresolved conflicts that can make your customer service department miserable. Here are some insights into High Probability Selling’s methods and why it’s critical to avoid conflicted prospects:

People who have unresolved conflicts are the source of most if not all of your challenges in customer service.  I’m speaking to you about customers who are impossible to resolve issues with, not situations where you’ve made the mistake and need to correct an issue. 

Perhaps you’ve found customers who have issues that no one else has, or simply refuse to resolve things and constantly bring up new issues after previous ones have been resolved.  They are “the customer from Hell!” 

Wouldn’t it be great to give these customers to your competitors so they have to invest all their time resolving ongoing conflicts?  Wouldn’t it be great to avoid them altogether?

Jacques Werth’s (High Probability Selling) principle for a process called Trust and Respect, allow you to identify how these customers are before you start doing business with them.  It protects you from beginning to do business with them simply by recognizing the potential they have for wreaking havoc in your business.

Trust and Respect is a regression questioning process used by psychiatrists with patients to help them identify their issues and then begin to work on them to resolve them. 

Anyone who is good at selling, asking questions can, simply by probing and showing interest in their prospect discover whether or not the person in question has unresolved conflicts. 

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to overcome is knowing where you are going with the questions and the result you wish to achieve without being completely straightforward with your prospect.  As noted in the download: Attempting to conceal your personal agenda. If your personal agenda is anything except determining whether or not you trust and respect the prospect, the process will not work.  On the surface the questions appear to be relationship building, yet deeper and more personal than most salespeople would ask in building rapport with their prospect.

In my experience I’ve rarely found anyone who has had difficulty with the questions.  One reason is that people are so infrequently asked these questions. When asked sincerely and with a deep interest in the person you are speaking to, few object.  Indeed in most cases where someone does object, I’ve had one person ask, “What’s this have to do with the coaching process?” it may be the first sign that they prefer not to answer these questions simply because they have something they wish not to reveal. 

The entire principle is based on looking at the customers you’ve had in the past and realizing that if you ranked your best customers on a scale of 0-10 with 0 being no trust and respect, and 10 being the highest trust and respect imaginable, your best customers are those that you would give a ten and they would probably give you a ten as well.

While the questions dig deep and ask for insight into the prospect’s lives, the bonus is once you’ve completed the questions and discovered whether the person has an unresolved conflict (most don’t), you have gained a deeper sense of rapport and trust in your relationship than anyone who is competing for the business with you could achieve.  

Relationship building is a prime component in getting the sale.  By following this process you’ve immediately built a better relationship than your competition will be able to achieve unless they follow the same process.

Finally if you discover they have an unresolved conflict you can simply bow out of the sales process offering that you don’t feel their business would be a good match for yours.

Some questions in the process might be:  Where did you go to school?  Tell me how you decided to go there?  Who first noticed you were good at that?

Once you begin down the path of regression, getting the prospect to open up about things in their history, you slowly move them back in time until you get to pre adolescence.   At that point you ask questions about their relationships.  What was it like growing up in your family?  How did you get along with your brothers, sisters, your parents?   Give me an example of a conflict you might have had with your brother or sister, your parents.  How did it get resolved?  Who was the disciplinarian in your family?   Give me an example when you were younger what you might have been disciplined for? 

Discovering a conflict and how it worked through you may find that this person is still bitter or holds a grudge against the person they had the conflict with.  That’s your indication that they have an unresolved conflict.

At times you may find that they have unresolved conflicts with a brother, sister or parent, yet they realize it and have done all they can to resolve it and then simply accepted the situation as unresolvable and choose to avoid that person in their lives.  

When Jacques regressed me I recall offering a story of when I was preschool age and it was my turn to do the laundry with my mom.  I’d been able to get out of it being my turn, until my mom remembered my brother had done it last time.  Evidently this upset me very much because at a break in my cleaning my brother and my dirty clothes I went outside, approached my brother and told him mom had given me permission to slap him. When it was discovered what I did I was strapped pretty good. 

The lesson for me was strong never to hit anyone.  My brother and I were close, just a year and nine months apart.  We had many conflicts growing up, however he was particularly forgiving and forgetting.  We might have fights playing basketball or football, and five minutes later it was like nothing had happened.  We were best friends and wanted and needed each other to play with.

Jacques shared his story about an unresolved conflict.  A friend of his asked him to have dinner with a group of brothers who he was considering buying their scrap metal business.  Jacques used his trust and respect questions to ask the brothers about their history.   They revealed they’d worked for their father in his scrap metal business, always being promised that they would receive a share of the business when it achieved a certain level of profit.  Year after year it failed to do so.  They revealed how the scrap metal business was particularly cutthroat and it required doing several things dishonestly, including making the scale lighter when scrap metal came in, and heavier when it went out so that they could increase their prices and make a profit.  After many years working with their father the brothers discovered he’d been cheating them all along and the business had actually achieved profit standards but their father had lied to them about it.  That’s when they decided to start their own business.  Suddenly during the sharing one of the brothers said, “I know why you’re asking all these questions!” 

The meeting quickly ended, and upon escaping out of the restaurant, Jacques friend offered “I’m so glad I brought you with me.  I can’t believe I ever wanted to do business with those people.  I’m happy to have avoided that!”  

People with unresolved conflicts are impossible to please.  They are constantly using you, and anyone else they encounter to attempt to resolve a conflict they had in their childhood that remains unresolved.  They haven’t resolved it with them, and they are attempting to find resolution by being right with you.  

You cannot win that argument, because even if you gain resolution, they’ve not resolved their previous issues and they’ll be back again with a new issue to get you to prove them again right.

We make enough mistakes in our businesses of our own accountability that require us to take steps to justifiably resolve them with customers.   Choose who you wish to work with and you can avoid a lot of conflicts that should never be your battles to begin with.  Accept only those issues you are responsible for and you’ll have a much more peaceful and enjoyable business to run. 

Topics: Accountability, customer service, counter intuitive business practice, Sales Process

The Best Coach in the World #102 2-23-10

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Wed, Feb 6, 2013

Question:  When choosing a business coach, what would you suggest are the most important characteristics to look for?

Answer:   There are a number of answers to this question from authorities and sources if you Google this question on the web.  Please allow me to share a story with you to offer what I feel is your most important consideration.

Imagine that you’re a high school basketball player. You’ve completed your freshman season.  It’s been a disappointing season since you were accustomed to winning.  Your team finished with just 6 wins and 12 losses.  You averaged 8 points a game and are the team’s second leading scorer.  The varsity team at your school failed to win a game, prolonging  a consecutive game losing streak that has now extended past 30 games.  The varsity coach invites players to continue to scrimmage after the season and you’re more than happy to continue playing.  You love basketball and want to improve.  In fact immediately after the last game in your disappointing season you recommitted to a promise you’d made to practice a minimum of an hour each day.

The new coach has a plan for the next season.  He begins to push his agenda immediately.  In these scrimmage sessions each evening after school as you and your teammates practice he preaches, shouts and scolds the team to “Pound the ball inside”  “Get the ball down low”  “Go to the hole”  “Drive when you get it down there!”    He’s adamant that his team will get the ball inside to his 6’4” center.  Each evening over and over he repeats his message.  He’s building his approach around one player, the center. He believes this person has the commitment, dedication and ability to turn the high school program around.

Your sophomore season is worse than the freshman season in terms of wins.  As a starter on the varsity your team wins just two games, but it breaks the better than two year victory drought that the team had slumbered through.  Your point production improves to 16 points a game.  That’s because the center the coach wanted to pound the ball into is you.  The team shows dramatic improvement in your junior season improving to 12 wins and 7 loses.  You lead the team and the entire conference in scoring – 24 points a game. 

Your coach leaves after your junior high school season, but his work has set the foundation for a turnaround in the team and your personal fortunes.  As a senior you again average more than 24 points a game and the team wins 16 games and loses only 5. 

My high school coach was named Gene Wick.  While his name is the same as mine he was not my father.  My father never played basketball and would have had no interest in the game had not I played it.  Yet this man, Gene Wick, had possibly as much influence on my life as my father did.  Why?  Because he believed in me! 

At the core of your decision to choose a coach is that coach’s belief in you.  That means that they must know the powerful influence that someone can have in the life of another.  They must recognize that believing in you and what you are capable of can profoundly influence your ability to achieve your dreams.  The example provided from my own life isn’t an isolated incident of people who have had deep affect on my life.  A sales manager, college teacher, my wife, brother and family members have all impacted my life by their faith and confidence in me. 

You would be a rare person to have not been influenced significantly by someone in your lifetime.  The insight here is that if you plan to hire a coach, it is critical that you find someone who will believe in you. 

That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t also remain objective and be able to criticize you, because among the other critical elements I feel are important in coaching are discipline, accountability, assertiveness, asking questions, and experience. 

 A coach’s bottom line requirement is the ability to keep you accountable for your commitments. They need to ask questions to discover what you know and how you feel.  They are best if they help you discover the answers within you because then you will respond best to your own enlightenment.  In many cases they will help you uncover what you already know, you just forgot it somewhere in the deep recesses of your mind and heart. 

The final piece of the puzzle is the last element in our Gazelles 4-3-2-1 formula.  The 1 in the formula is: A coach is a catalyst.  Their work should catapult you to greatness, to achieve your potential.   They must stick with you through thick and thin and believe in you even when you’ve lost faith and find it difficult to do so yourself.  They need to kick your butt and pad your fanny when you need it most.

Having been a sales manager, general manager, owner and sales person, among other titles in my career I know of no other source that can stimulate higher achievement than a mentor, coach, or friend who believes in you and your capabilities.

The ability to look into our souls, to be able to love and believe in us despite the faults that we are all too familiar with, in my personal opinion, is the critical element to selecting a coach who can vault your performance to the pinnacle of achievement.

It is an honor to work with my clients.  It’s become second nature for me to believe in them and what they can achieve.   I sincerely hope that I will have the privilege to work with you someday.  If not, it is my sincerest wish that you discover someone who is capable of help to make your dreams come to fruition.   May you find as I have the best coach in the world.  

Topics: Accountability, Coach Advisor, 4-3-2-1 formula for business growth, Discipline Plan, Catalyst


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