Trying to predict the behavior of others is always fraught with danger.
But when you have an expectation of how somebody will behave, and they don’t?
This can cause serious problems.
Say you’re walking into a potential client’s office. You’ve got a big sales pitch planned. If you land a contract, it could be worth a thousands in commissions.
But you’ve also heard this guy is an extremely tough sell, and a serious hard case.
So you go in, and about halfway through the presentation, he rips you a new one, and tells you to get out.
Now, consider another situation. Same potential for profit. Only this time, the guy you’re presenting to is actually a kind old lady who’s inherited the family business, and has run it quite well. She’s well known around town for being active in the community, giving plenty of her time and money to charity.
In business, though, she’s a very forward looking and astute manager.
So you go in to pitch her.
And again, halfway through the presentation, she stops you, apologizes profusely, compliments you on your presentation skills, but then tells you that your product is just simply not a match for her current needs. She then tells you to please call her back in six months to see if anything has changed.
As she walks you out, she repeats what a great presenter you are, and how people must really love your product.
Now, what’s the difference between the two presentations?
Both started and ended the same way. Both were “no sales.” Thanks, but no thanks.
Why did you feel terrible after the first one, and not the second one? (Assuming that you were following along and got into the stories).
Whenever we humans go into a situation, the “meaning” of the situation is generally up for grabs. The thing is that most people not only don’t realize this, but they often let others choose the meaning for them.
So if a guy says “no,” and yells at you, you assume his meaning. That you’re an idiot who wasted his time. You’ve accepted his meaning.
A nice old lady says “no,” but is polite and kind, you don’t feel so bad. You’ve accepted her meaning.
What happens when you choose to put your own meaning on situations?