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Never tug a tiger’s tail

Christopher Bell Blomquist
© Painting in Brighton Hotell

I recently ran a workshop with a group of participants where we took a sidetrack talking about different personalities and how to interact with them.

The questions I got gave an insight into what kind of issues they usually ran in to and that they were very interested in how to resolve the matters in an appropriate way.

We also talked about expectations in different situations and how to interact with different ways of business and leadership issues due to nationality and responsibilities.

Several participants shared different stories about confrontations that, for different reasons, has not ended with the best outcome.

These questions are quite common and arise more often and it is obviously something that people wonder about and seek strategies for.

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One conclusion is that we are all trained to argue and to try and persuade others into seeing the world as we do, and if they don’t, try harder, if necessary, use force.

Most sales trainings that I have attended in my life has the same concept and build on the perception to persuade, or by manipulation, get you what you want.

I myself was quite good at this and I still remember a manager that told me once when I presented a win back strategy regarding a client;

“It sounds like a great plan, but remember that when you manage to get the client to where you want them to be, they might not like finding themselves in that position”

It got me thinking, maybe I should try and figure out another way of reaching what I want without taking the risk that the client felt manipulated or outmaneuvered.

I also took the time to discuss it with a group of colleagues, just to get their view on how I could reach my goals in a different way, and weigh the risk against gains.

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We even manage to build different scenarios where we could try out what could be a successful strategy or not, due to what would happen in the meeting.

We also discussed what to do dependable on what kind of person or persons we would meet in our encounter with them.

In those days we had both the Disc model and Myers Brigs to learn from when it came to what would be the best way to tackle different personalities.

Once we decided how to proceed, we also decided to try out our approach with a minor client to us, just to see if our concept would hold water in the real world.

It didn’t develop as we expected, it even got worse than anticipated and, in the end, it also had some impact officially due to some major misunderstandings between us.

Today I know what went wrong, in those days I was to young to understand and to competitive in my way of doing business.

 I was more focused on winning the deal rather than trying to help the client and I had prepared a battery of arguments and counter arguments in case they were needed.

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The backlash we got from this minor client, gave us an understanding that maybe we should not see our meeting as a slugging match between opposite sides.

Once we had the meeting with the bigger client, they had obviously decided to give us a hard time due to that they have been successful in previous meetings with it.

These encounters gave me an early insight that in many meetings with clients its better to decide a more neutral approach, and not to escalate matters prematurely.

Today I can see that the same mistakes are done over and over again and that we do not learn from each other mistakes and success stories as we should.

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With the knowledge we have today about how the brain works I would recommend, without going too much into details, stay away from becoming emotional.

Basically, your brain does not function well when your feelings are running wild, and quite a few clients actually try to get you out of balance to gain some benefits.

If you get aggravated, acknowledge your feelings, park them aside, take a break and consider an appropriate counter maneuver.

I would also recommend not to aggravate your clients as a strategy, if you do you could very well be caught up holding a tiger by its tail.

Christopher Bell Blomquist
Managing director Scotwork Sweden
BellBlomquist Consulting.

Christopher Bell Blomquist
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