Written by Terry Ouimet

SIMPLE TAKEAWAY:  I believe that the level of your success in your entrepreneurial endeavors is directly related to your attitudes that you have on a weekly basis.

SIMPLE ACTION STEP: Practice overlooking offenses with an important but tough-to- deal-with customer who you have in mind. 

RELEVANT BOOK: Think and Grow Rich. Napoleon Hill.

Full disclosure, we are affiliated with Amazon. We receive a small referral reimbursement if you buy the book through this website. Your price is not any higher, but you help easuccess to stay up and running.

 

 

How skilled are you at influencing and persuading people as an Entrepreneur? Are you struggling to take your business to the next level of sales income?

 

I believe that the level of your success in your entrepreneurial endeavors is directly related to the attitudes that you have on a weekly basis. Many of us don’t pay attention to the  thoughts that we tell ourselves throughout the day. However, it is well documented that these thoughts define who we are, and what we can achieve in life and business. And as it has been said, if you deal with people in your business, you are in the business of influencing and sales. As an entrepreneur, sales and selling are good things, so why not figure out how to get more of them?

 I’m going to share with you how I’ve made a lot of money by applying these 5 Attitude Principles. You likely won’t be too thrilled about practicing at least four of these. However, if it were that easy, everybody would be doing it. If you have an online business, this will be equally beneficial.

 

Here are the 5 Principles:

 

  • Overlook an Offense

  • Accept Criticism

  • Speak Kind Words

  • Use Discernment

  • Serve First

 

These principles  are not necessarily new or earth shattering. But if you are struggling to reach the next level as an entrepreneur, you should read this.  I’m only telling you what has worked for me, and what I have seen work in the lives of other people who have done this as well. I have spent twenty years influencing and persuading people. In some respects I’ve been very successful at it. That is I’ve made a lot of money, been promoted, won awards which is one definition of success. So these principles have opened up many doors in my life both relationally and financially. Perhaps it can do the same for you.

 

Here is a quick and simple review of how a mindset works. There is a direct link between your thoughts, which in turn shape your attitudes or the mindset you have toward people and circumstances in your life.  Your attitudes then steer the ship so to speak toward your actions much like a rudder on a boat. Your actions determine who you are as a person. They also determine your level of success in life and business.

 

As I said, these are simple tactics but before you mistakenly dismiss any of them I ask you this: Are you actually practicing any of them on a weekly basis?  I realize that we would all like to think that we are pretty good at each of these techniques in our own eyes. But what would people say about you if I asked them  how you score on a scale of 1-10 on each of these practices? What would your customers, family, friends, neighbors and co workers say?  Let’s start with one of the hardest ones.

1. Overlooking an Offense–  Remember this truth: Your peace is your power. Your enemy to success is bitterness, resentfulness and unforgiveness. I spend a little more time on this first point because I have first hand experience with it on the receiving end. And, I think that unjust criticism and offensive attitudes and behaviours in business relationships are very common. So please hang with me, I think you will benefit from this .

 

Funny Story

 

I remember a time when I had not yet learned this principle. It was back when I started a 100% commission sales job for a small business. I went from a white collar Fortune 100 company to a small business that had no HR department, no rules and a great deal of injustice. Deep down I had so much anger at the way I was being treated in the first few months that one day I just stepped outside with this individual and really wanted to settle it the way I did playing professional hockey. With an elbow to the head. Fortunately that didn’t happen and 8 years later I stuck with the company and went on to learn how to deal with offense and injustice. I made millions of dollars in that sales job and learned some even more valuable life lessons about relationships, influencing and dealing with people.

 

It is to your benefit to not react emotionally when somebody unjustly criticizes, ridicules, or even verbally abuses you. You wouldn’t  put your finger in a mousetrap or your leg in a bear trap. So view the insult, lie or injustice as a trap and wisely avoid it. If you choose to take the bait for the trap, you will be hurt and stuck in the trap for a while until somebody gets you out. You will find yourself hurt emotionally and stuck in your efforts to influence and make more sales. Your job is to be the peacemaker as far as you can control it, and to continue to treat them with kindness.

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Why on earth would I do that you may ask?  First, because you can’t allow other people’s emotional problems to control your attitudes and actions. You have to protect your attitudes and control your actions they are your identity and your vehicles to success. Furthermore, your patience, perseverance and character may win them over. The strategy is to be the bigger man or woman and be a real leader by the way you respond. This will keep the relationship and sale in tact. Keep your desired outcome in mind. Think long term.

 

I believe that people who offend  deep down would prefer to be be like you but they just can’t seem to get out of the way of themselves. Plus, they could one day be very loyal to you and be a part of your success. People do change, and your biggest enemy can indeed become your biggest supporter if you show them the higher road.  If that doesn’t happen, then you kick them in the groin, cuss them out and move on. Kidding, that is not what you should do.

Have you ever heard that saying “It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond to it?”    It applies to your business relationships and particularly those difficult people or personalities.

More importantly, other people are watching. By that I mean, our lives are on display for others to see- like it or not, the good, bad and the ugly. So the actions we take always affect not just ourselves but other people.

When you treat somebody with kindness who doesn’t deserve it, other people are going to hear about it and connect the dots. Or they will see it themselves and you can make a difference in that person’s life by inspiring them to be like minded. Also, it will endear them toward you and make them want to be on your team. In this way, you can make a statement about your character,one that says who you are and what your business is all about. And it will be far more effective and long lasting than any fleeting Instagram post or YouTube video that you create.

 

Here is How You Win

 

We actually win at least two ways when this kind of “kill them with kindness” interaction happens. First, we don’t get dragged into “an eye for an eye” mentality or lower ourselves to that person’s immature and futile emotional level that will never lead to success. Second we move onward and upward clean as a whistle keeping our integrity and character in tact.

And second, we get the benefit of people being drawn toward us and wanting to work with us because we rose above that crap and were the bigger person.

People want to partner with and do business with a person who cares and is kind. It’s one way of building trust and getting them to like you. I’ve seen it work in action in my sales career. Sadly, there are still many ineffective managers and entrepreneur thought leaders who think that position, title, and prestige are all tools to beat their business colleagues over the head with in a bully-like manner

Remember, you reap what you sow. If these difficult people or personalities never change their attitudes and behavior toward you,  it’s their loss and ultimately they will get what’s coming to them.

2. Accepting Criticism-  I’ll keep this one short because I hate being criticized. Just kidding. Well sort of. People who accept criticism are extremely wise. It’s one of the smartest things you can do in life and in business.

People who accept advice and instruction will be rewarded, honored and be more successful in the end. If you want to persuade and influence more people toward your business, and your dream, then learn to accept criticism.

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On the flip side, people who refuse to accept criticism and advice will pay a price for it, look foolish, and be less successful. If you want to fail in business and suck at influencing people, then be a prideful stubborn know it all and never take advice. Also, think you are always right and  believe that you always know the best way. That may sound a tad harsh but I say it in love and I’m here to help you make more money.

You Will Make More Money

Criticism is especially hard to accept when it comes from somebody who does not deliver it in love or kindness. However, I have learned the hard way that it is to your advantage financially to steer past the sting of the initial wording and ask yourself these two questions: 1. Is there any truth to what this person is saying. And 2.  Could it help me improve and make more money?

 

I can tell you from personal experience that if the answers are yes and yes, and you follow this advice, you will surely make more money. I learned that many times people really do have information and feedback that can help you, but they just don’t have any tact or bedside manner with the delivery of it. It may not remotely look like it or sound like it, but this person may actually want to help you deep down and they can see something that you cannot.

 

So, if you knew that you could make hundreds of thousands of dollars more over a period of months would you be more willing to accept advice and criticism? I would, and I have. I believe it can work for you too.

3. Speak Kind Words– At the end of day, people just really want to be loved, accepted and appreciated. You may have learned this already, but are you practicing it in your business relationships?  Since most of us are starved for affection and appreciation, when we do receive it, we notice it and cherish it.

Kind words offered with honesty and sincerity, NOT flattery, are a way to stand out from other people. Once received, that person will remember it and they will remember you and your product or service. Moreover, if practiced consistently, you will have created a deep-level relational connection that says to that person consciously or subconsciously, “they are always nice to me, they appreciate me and I want to be nice to them and support them in turn.”

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Your job is to be the peacemaker and as far as you can control it, continue to treat them with kindness even if the customer starts treating you with unkindness.  Why on earth would I do that you may ask? Because you can’t allow other people’s emotional problems to control your attitudes and actions and therefore your income. If you do allow it, you may not reach your goals and be successful. You have to protect your attitudes and actions. They are your identity as an entrepreneur and your vehicles to success.

Keep Your Desired Goal in Focus

Kind words can absolutely put out a fire. They can can cover up and smolder out a fire of unkind words toward you and keep a relationship or business meeting on track. Remember what the goal is, to influence more people toward your product or service and make more money. We can’t let unkind attitudes or tempers toward us derail us from that goal. There is a time and a place to set boundaries and excuse yourself from a situation or conversation, especially if the situation becomes abusive.. I’m not talking about excessive situations like that where somebody crosses the line of no return. However in the normal course of business, when you are selling yourself or your product, it is to your disadvantage to be touchy, sensitive or easily offended.

This principle is similar to overlooking an offense but one step further. You actually have to speak some kind words or peace -making words to prevent the fire from spreading. You will show all those present in room that you are in control emotionally and on your business game, including your potential customer. This in turn will keep the conversation, relationship and sale on track toward your desired goal. You will retain more customers this way and make more money in the end. You win.

Read point number one again if necessary.

4. Use Discernment- Entrepreneurs who are wise, smart, and knowledgeable use discernment as a tool to influence others towards their value proposition and products. They “get people.” They “get” the conversation and situation and react accordingly in the direction of persuasion. Foolish entrepreneurs who are not prudent or do not use discernment lead others in the wrong direction. Also, they often need to be corrected or disciplined, and have a hard time gaining understanding. In other words, they just don’t “get it”.

The definition of discernment is being able to judge well or grasp what is obscure. That last word there obscure is very important. Often in sales and as business owners we engage in conversations with potential customers and there is a great deal of verbal and non verbal information that is said, and a great deal that is unsaid. Have you ever been in a personal or business conversation and the person you are talking to just doesn’t “get “ the verbal and non-verbal cues and they keep digging themselves into a hole, annoying you or wasting your time?  

For example, some of things you should learn to discern either verbally or through non- verbal body language in a business conversation are:

What kind of business personality do they have?

  • Drivers- large and in charge, confident, decisive, perhaps a bit prideful.  

  • Expressive-Don’t want nothin but a good time, life of the party, funny, fun, outgoing.

  • Aimable-Mr. or Mrs. nice guy, kind, patient, humble, sympathetic, just very likable.

  • Analytical- The brainiac, thoughtful, practical, serious, purposeful.

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Here are some other key information that needs to be discerned in a potential business relationship or sales conversation:

Is the person interested in what your value proposition is or what your solution is?

Does the person have the time or desire to talk to you right now?

What motivates them, what are their pains and gains, what do they need from you?

What are their primary business objectives?

Do they even like you or want to be talking to you? Are they annoyed with you? or Are they engaged and buying in to what you are saying?

Influential entrepreneurs understand how to use discernment as a key tool to relationship build and influence customers toward a sale.

5. Humility- The humble entrepreneur doesn’t have to prove to others he or she is good, they already know they  bring value to the table. After all, if you really are as good as you think or say you are, do you really need to convince others of it? Just let your actions do the talking. Call it quiet confidence or whatever you wish, but there is something magnetic and likable about somebody who lets their superior actions do the talking and doesn’t feel the need to name drop, one up everybody in the room, dominate the conversation with their superior intellect, or boast about their great resume and accomplishments.

Here is the problem: most people talk too much, listen too little and don’t ask questions. They use their mouth way more than their ears. This is a mistake in a selling situation or newly-formed business relationship. If you want to make more money, listen first, ask questions, analyze, discern and then speak a solution. It is well documented in a study by gong.io that sales reps with a more balanced listen-to-speak ratio are more successful. So if you want to make more sales and be more successful, listen more than you speak.

Learn From the Pros

For  example,  when many of the great veterans in any pro sport score a goal, they act like they’ve done it before. I believe that sends more of an influential message than spazzing out like you just won the lottery. Don’t get me wrong, I love cool and funny end-zone celebrations and there is a game and a place to celebrate  in all sports. I remember my first college ice hockey goal that I scored in a home game. When I scored it, I spazzed out like I had just scored the overtime game winning goal in an Olympic gold medal game. I remember one of the seniors came up to congratulate me with a fist bump and he said, “Nice goal but calm down bro.”

This is what I thought  about the pro hockey players who I played against when they scored and then quietly and confidently went about their business like they’ve done it before and they’ll do it again: “They are dangerous. They mean business. When you are on the ice with them, you better be on your game. Watch them and learn from them, I want to be like them.” Here is what I thought about hockey players who scored and then threw themselves up against the glass, taunted the crowd or our bench, and over celebrated: “They are weak, they can be beaten. Also,they are afraid. Moreover,they don’t know how to handle success and therefore haven’t achieved it much. Last,they are prideful idiots please don’t let me ever act like that.”

Sports is like business in many ways. Usually humility comes with maturity and experience. Quiet confidence can be an effective way to persuade and influence. It will to be to your financial advantage to “act like you’ve been there before.”

The definition of humility is: “a modest view of one’s own importance.”

I think you need to let your personality shine through and be yourself. Similarly, I wouldn’t recommend being disingenuous or somebody that you are not. However, being humble is more of an attitude and strategy and any type of personality can embrace being humble. Humility has helped me sell more product.

image credit: Pexels.com

Another practical strategy: sometimes sharing an open and honest story of how you failed or struggled in something can create an emotional and relational connection with your customer. Sound like weakness?  Nope, it’s strength. This practice of humility can put you in a better position to sell. It’s highly likely that what you share has happened in a similar fashion to your customer. They will feel like they are not the only one and can relate. This will lead to connection and relationship building which can quickly open up the door to trust. When you have trust, you have sales. Bingo.

Contrast this with a prideful  “one upper” who tries to make you feel inferior on one hand, and builds a lack of trust on the other hand. The result is a lack of connection, a closed door, no influence, and no sales. It has also been said this way: “pride comes before destruction.”

My main point is that your goal is to align yourself positionally, emotionally and relationally with your customers in a way that influences them toward you as a person. As well as what you bring to the table with your product or service.

Having said that, you still want to be a fierce competitor. Humility is not being a doormat or taking a position of weakness. You absolutely want to competitively sell, clearly spell out your benefits and what you bring to the table. You want to win and you have a valuable solution to their problem. Similarly, I believe in thinking that you are on an equal playing field with anybody who you meet with, and in no way inferior to them. So don’t let anybody back you down to where they try to make you feel lucky to even be considered for the sale.

You can and will achieve the position as a trusted advisor, and strategic partner with your customers when you demonstrate humility in your conversations and business relationships.

  1. Serve First, Sell Last –. Effective persuasion and influence come from getting people to like you, trust you and respect you. An attitude of servanthood can help you achieve this. People will like you when you open yourself up and make an effort to genuinely get to know them as a person both inside of the office and out. They will trust you when you strategically partner with them and show that you have honesty, integrity and character. Additionally by demonstrating hard work, and an “I have your back” attitude, your customer will turn into a loyal business relationship that will stand the test of time. They will respect you when you show them that you have superior industry and product knowledge. Furthermore that you want to use it to help them reach their top business objectives.

When you accomplish all this, you become a  trusted advisor to their business and open up the doors to influence and sales. Please find my ebook on this topic on our website for more in depth information on how to accomplish all of  this.

Help A Lot of People Get What They Need, And You Will Get What You Need

I was never a slick or talented salesman. But one reason I was always at the top in sales was that I viewed my customer and accounts as people who I was serving, as opposed to taking from. When you sincerely care about the success of your customers’ businesses, it will shine through. They will want to support your success as well. Specifically, they will always find time to meet with you when they are busy. Also, they will let you say your sales spiel and have an inside shot at the order over your competitors. To be a servant leader you will sometimes have to creatively find ways to contribute to the key business objectives that your customer has outlined. Go two miles when they ask you to go one. Stay later, answer the call on Saturday afternoon. Do something for them that they clearly know will not immediately benefit you with a sale, but will help them achieve their business goals.

The point is, if you want to be a successful influencer and persuade more people toward your product or service, you should have the mindset that you are there to serve, not receive. It’s not about you or the sale. Leading with this attitude is selfish and fearful and will be ineffective for your business.

image credit: Pexels.com

There are people in business who like to think they are in charge and are not afraid to throw down the hammer and make it known. But little do these people know, respect is earned not taken. Respect cannot be self declared simply because they have a title. I think there is a far more effective strategy to influence people that leads to success: be a servant leader and have a servant’s heart. This business quality doesn’t get a lot of air time. Perhaps because it’s counterintuitive to our human nature to want to selfishly “get ours and get it first.” However, I have seen many more big name companies claiming to adopt this leadership style in recent news.  Another reason we don’t demonstrate an attitude of servanthood is because we grip things tightly for fear of losing them. We are afraid to give of our time, energy and resources. Especially if it doesn’t show a clear ROI (Return on investment) or look good on the sales spreadsheet. But a simple truth is that people who refresh others and give to others will be rewarded with more to give.

Leading or doing business transactions by self prescribed and undeserved authority from a mindset of superiority are so from the 90’s.  It’s almost comical and embarrassing to see people lead or do business this way in this day and age. This kind of self serving business leadership approach causes people to dislike you, distrust you and feel sorry for you. These would not be the results that we as entrepreneurs are striving for.

Believe me, I am speaking from direct experience about this type of business attitude. I’ve seen it, worked with it and dealt with it. I was managed in a Fortune 100 company and was also promoted and groomed for management in that same company. I distinctly remember two completely opposite managers who I had at different times. Under one manager I thrived and was confident and felt appreciated. I excelled in sales numbers and earnings and was promoted for management. My attitude was stellar and I loved going to work. Under the other manager, I quit. He wasn’t the only reason I left. However,  I wonder if I would have stayed had he been more like the first manager.  The second guy was all about getting results from me for his selfish benefit. It was obvious that if I underperformed or messed up, a crack of the whip would not be far behind. He was proud of his position and authority. Many times he elevated himself above his sales force. If only he knew the truth about how people really felt about him. He could have achieved much higher sales numbers with a different relational strategy and approach to leadership. If we put our interests before our customers, we will not be effective influencers and will make less money.

Unfortunately, many people in management and thought-leader positions in entrepreneurship got there for the wrong reasons. Like a shooting star, they’ll soon be forgotten but in the meantime we can learn from them. We can also improve ourselves and continue striving toward our goal of building a successful dream business while we still have to deal with them.

If you are struggling as an entrepreneur or are doing great but want to jump to the next level, take an honest self assessment of these principles. If you are brave, ask somebody else who knows you well what their thoughts are. See if there is room for improvement in one of these areas of your life. Then go out and put it into practice with a customer who you have in mind. I’m confident that your relationship will improve and your sales will increase.

It is our passion at easuccess to encourage you as an entrepreneur and help you realize your dream of being a successful entrepreneur. We understand the struggle and the difficulty.

We desire to help you develop extraordinary attitudes and actions that help you make more money.

Thanks for reading and keep up the great work!

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