Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Alexander Technique Principles in Selling: 4. Head-Spinal Governance


In 1986 I was exploring the shore line of Sydney Harbour with Marj, Alexander’s first training school graduate. Marj was 86 years old then, and I had just met her. She’d had a little trouble coming into Australia, because the Department of Immigration’s airport computer spat out her birth year of 1899! “I am too old to be living.” was Marj’s rejoinder.

I ventured down some old stone stairs, but Marj saw a bench and took a rest. Upon my return she asked:

“Do you know what I was doing while you were down there?”

“No Marj, I don’t.”

“I was just trying to figure out what Alexander meant by forward and up.”

Holy boly, I thought – 53 years of teaching and she still doesn’t know!? But…

“Oh really?” was all I can manage.

Marj had a unique way of working with teachers which I carry on at BodyChance: my students learn about teaching by practicing teaching while I watch. It sounds silly when I write it like that, but actually in my own training in London in the 1970s, I didn’t do that. I was never given the chance to actually teach. I was taught a lot about “hands on”  and bending etc., but that is not actually teaching. (And if you think it is – boy oh boy are we a long way apart!)

At BodyChance, teaching lessons in front of everyone is only way you can graduate. So how is this relevant to selling?

It concerns the process I am using to assess my teachers. I have two critical questions that my students need to answer accurately to graduate to Stage Three, when they can practise teaching without direct supervision:

1.     What do you know now about your Self?
2.     What do you know now about your Student?

How do I know when to ask these questions? By watching my student teacher’s co-ordination i.e. how their head movements are governing vertebral co-ordination. Knowing of this head-spine governance, I am able to guess fairly accurately when they are in a constructive process, and when they are being overrun by fear & negativity.

When you sell – is it any different? Are those two questions still valid questions?

As soon as you sense your downward pressure in your Self while selling, ask: “What am I thinking about now?” Inevitably you will discover that your behaviour is being governed by some kind of negative thinking: “I am afraid this person does not want my lesson” is one of a dozen different thoughts you may be inflicting on your self, and jeopardizing your chances of closing the sale.

As soon as you see downward pressure in your potential student while selling, ask: “What is (s)he thinking about now?” Inevitably you will discover that their behaviour is being governed by some kind of negative thinking “I don’t have enough resources to do this” and it's now your job to become the advocate for their other thought: “This lesson really helped me get what I want.” They expand with the latter thought, contract with the former. You can see it, so include this information in your selling!

Selling is fundamentally a variation on teaching. Head-spinal governance is how AT teachers’ eyes guess when a person is being constructive, and when they are not, so use this ability to guess into a person’s state of mind when selling to them. You are working with a person’s habitual behaviour, and asking them to make a change. That’s all selling is in AT work. Ask for the change – you do it with your hands all the time. Now do it with your voice by asking for the sale...

"Ok – let’s book you for new sessions shall we?"

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