Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Selling of You IV: Getting To Yes Or No.


Here’s a question for reluctant sellers of Alexander's discoveries:

When you offer Alexander Technique sessions to a person who has demonstrated an interest, what is your primary task?

Here’s an answer I am guessing will be coming in some form or other to many teachers… “to be compassionate, to listen, to explain, to assist the person in making a decision…” All good. Nothing there that is overtly difficult, so if you find it difficult to sell, maybe you are doing something else too?

So here’s the answer that I am guessing is not coming to so many teachers: “To get that person to yes or no.” Of course the conventional view of a seller is to “Get the person to yes.” but in Alexander Technique terms that has to be incomplete. Choice is not choice when there is no space for no. So your job is to engineer clarity in your prospect's thinking. 

How do you do that?

Years ago, I was first alerted to this subtle distinction by guess who? You got it - my teacher Marj. If I said something like “…I probably need to think of my head…” she would bark back without a second’s delay: “There is no ‘probably’ about it.” My startled rabbit eyes would see in a flash how muddled and confused I had become.

In 1988, I watched Marj in her first London workshop work with a musician attempting to play the violin: “Well, I was hoping I that I could…” and Marj immediately cut her off with the words: “Why don’t you quit hoping and do something about it?”

Would you dare say such a thing to a person who started to say: “Well, I hope I can take lessons with you but…” That’s when YOU become necessary. Why? Because your job is to get them to yes or no. Where are they? They are at “Yes, but…”or “No, but…” Do you have the courage to ask: “Well either you do or you don’t - make up your mind. I don’t care what you decide, but my job is bring unity to your movement.” 

In terms of our work “Yes, but…” is not unity. It’s war. It’s pushing and pulling on your Self and that is the source of all tension. Isn’t your job to guide a person out of that state of confusion? In a lesson, you would immediately point out the dissonance of that thought. But when it comes to selling…

This is an uncomfortable moment. You risk being disliked, worse still, be labeled “pushy.” But what did you really do? You asked a question. You become the advocate for their yes, when they would do all that they could to deny their own wish.

And that is the hidden agenda that stops most of us selling effectively - including me. I don’t claim immunity from my own analysis, I merely claim to recognise what is functioning when I fail to sell. I fail to advocate: these principles, my prospect's need, the potentiality available for both of us. And why, oh why do I give up so easily?

Ahhh… That’s a post for tomorrow!

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