How to talk to people who don’t want to talk to you | Life of a Lady Blog

I LOVEGroup Of Women Meeting In Office THIS ADVICE AND WISH I’D HAD IT EARLIER IN MY CAREER!

Three ways to motivate decision-makers to give you a chance in the all-important first minute.

I am indebted to Sam Horn founder and CEO of the Intrigue Agency, where she consults on strategic communications in America for her advice about how to tackle people who don’t have time or inclination to talk to you. If I’d had this guidance at the start of my career, you would’ve had to make an appointment to see me with the assistant to my private diary secretary. For it takes nerve and courage to talk to someone high up – even if what you want to discuss makes sense and could be good for the company.

I wasn’t any good at office politics and never managed to pluck up the courage to approach a boss – in my case the Editor of a national newspaper – though of course I was young and from Cape Town so tried to hide in the background in case the ‘No Talent Police’ discovered I didn’t deserve to be there (yes, yes, I’ve changed but overcoming self-denigration in women is a re-occurring theme at my network lunches).

So, says Sam, when trying to sell your ideas, products, and services these phrases may be familiar:

“Can you come back later?” (Who would ever?)

“Thanks. We’ve got it covered.”

“We don’t have the budget for that.”

The answer to all these? Sam says : be one step ahead. This is how.

1. ACKNOWLEDGE THEY ARE BUSY.

Your first words should to be, “I know you’re busy, but may I have just three minutes?”

Do you know any decision-makers who aren’t busy? If people don’t know how much of their valuable time you’re going to take up, they’re already resenting you because they’re thinking, “Don’t you know how busy I am?!”

By acknowledging they’re busy; people are more likely to listen. Instead of being distracted and wondering, “How long is this going to take” you’ve told them exactly how long. And stick to the time.

Plus, you’re asking instead of presuming. Instead of launching into a one-sided spiel that holds them hostage; you have respectfully requested their attention. They’re a lot more likely to give it because they volunteered to do so.

2. ASK FOR LESS TIME THAN THEY EXPECT.

Want a quick way to impress decision-makers favourably? Condense your request or proposal into a fraction of the allotted/expected time.

Start by saying, “I’ve distilled my pitch into 10 minutes. We can continue the conversation after that if you like. Or follow up at a later date.”

That executive will appreciate you for being time-efficient and will conclude you will cut to the chase and not waste their time.

3. ELIMINATE DOUBTS UP FRONT.

Put yourself in the mind-set of your decision-maker. Why will he/she say no to what you’re proposing? Why will they not be interested?

Bring that up first. If you don’t, they won’t really be listening; they’ll be waiting for you to stop talking so they can tell you why this won’t work.

Voice that objection upfront: ‘You may think I’m crazy asking for money as there isn’t any left in your budget, but give me three minutes and I’ll show you how we can to recoup this investment in the first six weeks.”

Suppose they come back with, “We tried this before and it didn’t work.”

Answer: “Yes but I’ve identified where we went wrong and how we can prevent that from happening this time.

If you don’t address their doubts, they won’t consider anything you say because they’ve already made up their mind.

Of course it goes without saying that you need to be pretty certain of your facts/ideas but if you are, use these three steps to overcome their impatience and objections from decision makers so they’re motivated to listen to you.

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Lady Val is our Life of a Lady Blogger. Lady Val is also the founder of 'Lady Val's Professional Women's Network.' You can Reach Lady Val on: Life of a Lady Blog, Lady Val's Professional Women's Network

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