Laura’s Lesson

Elaine has a cousin, Nancy. Nancy has a daughter, Kris. Kris has a daughter, Laura. Laura’s cool.

Laura’s a participant in Model UN at her high school. A couple of weeks ago, she was at our house having dinner and we somehow got onto the subject of American politics. I don’t remember the specific topic, but knowing the political makeup of most of the adults at the table, I made some extreme comment like ship them all back, or shoot him, or some other comment just to take the conversation to a new level. After the adults went back and forth trying to decide how to ‘fix me’, someone said, “Laura, you’re up on these kind of things, how should we deal with Rick?” Laura replied, “The North Koreans would agree with Rick’s approach.”

That got the table going again, but let me tell you why Laura’s cool. Laura left for Italy the next day for a multiple day summit where several countries were going to be presenting their position on some current situation on which a decision must be made by the UN. She was going to be presenting her case as a delegate from North Korea. NORTH KOREA! Get it? She has to put her own beliefs aside and fully understand the North Korean point of view. WHAT SHE THINKS OR BELIEVES DOESN’T MATTER. Isn’t that great? She’s getting sales coaching in high school. She’s learning how to put what she believes aside long enough to get the job done. If she argues what she personally believes, she loses.

Isn’t that what salespeople need to do? Put themselves aside? Understand their prospect? Remember this post?

Now, I admit that it’s a bit of a stretch comparing Laura understanding North Korea’s beliefs and positions to a salesperson understanding a prospect’s beliefs and positions because, in this case, Laura’s not trying to change North Korea’s mind to get them to accept a new position. But, can you see that by understanding their beliefs and positions, she’s much better equipped to explain why they might want to change their mind?

So, the lesson from Laura is,

If you understand your prospect’s position enough so that you could argue their side, you’ll find yourself able to look at your offering through your prospect’s eyes and maybe discover why they might buy.

4 thoughts on “Laura’s Lesson

  1. Laura, with Ricks translation, has really captured quite succinctly what we all must learn to do, not only in our sales approaches, but in all our relationships…..Great post!Thanks, I needed that late on a Sunday after a long day of trying to understand a difficult clients position.I did and now it’s OK!

  2. The Model UN has been around for a long time. I remember taking part in it when I was in high school and living overseas. A lot of what is learned within it can be taken into a person’s future and development. It is quite interesting how something as simple and as enjoyable as the concept of a model United Nations can have a lasting impact. Things that I learned as a delegate member of the Model United Nations: – Perception: As Rick’s blog post points out, the successful delegates are the ones that truly take on and understand their country. They comprehend what it takes to “be” the other. This can be used in sales, in human resources, and in management.- Delegation: There’s a lot of work involved, but you have help. Not everyone gets this opportunity, but many of the lead delegates do. They determine what needs to be done and who the best person on their team is to do it.- Diplomacy: In the MUN, you need to be able to strike up trade agreements, treaties, and discuss their effects. By speaking with OTHER delegates with diplomacy, an individual is more successful.- Scope: Trying to focus on everything fails. In the MUN, you learn this and you realize that you need to focus on specific goals that are defined by your country’s needs. The MUN is a really interesting thing and, for those students who take it seriously, there is certainly a LOT to learn. – Philippe

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