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Professional Development

Sales: Don’t Write Proposals, Write Confirmations

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Series-C-NAVY-Book-3This excerpt is taken from Naked is the Salesperson who has no “Close” – The Principles, Practice and Profitability of “Perceptual” Selling

Don’t Write Proposals, Write Confirmations

One of the most odious, frustrating and difficult parts of being in sales is going taking the time to put together a proposal only to have it rejected, scoffed at or to get no response at all.

This article is devoted to making sure that never (again) happens to you.

And paradoxically enough, we do that by not writing proposals at all, rather we write confirmation, summations if you will.

Once you think you are nearing the closing of a sale, one of the best questions you can ask a client is, “What are the specific (sequential) steps that you (your company) normally goes through (for us) to get a deal or sign a contract?

The information you will get in the answer to that question will tell you exactly where you are at and what still needs to get done.

And more importantly, what do you do if in the course of the conversation, the client says those ghastly words, “Why don’t you send me a proposal”?

Do not take the bait.

This question does not mean what most of us would like it to mean.

We think it means “Aha, we have a deal.”

It might mean or even more likely means that he is trying to get rid of you, nicely.

When this happens, immediately count to four steamboats, and then respond: “I would be happy to….


Are you Asking me?

1)   To confirm what we have agreed upon today, in that we have a deal,

2)   Or are there still people we need to speak to,

3)   Or issues that still need to be addressed?”

If he/she responds, “No, this needs to go to our committee (I do not have final authority etc.) or there are still things that need to be done, or I’m still not sure”, then simply say…. Read More

How to Communicate Effectively with a “Feeler” – Don’t Be Understanding Rather Show Understanding

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How to Communicate Effectively With the Feeling Decider

In the last newsletter, we outlined how to reach the analytical and conceptual mind of Thinkers” whose dominant cognitive and neurological happens or is located in the cortical brain.

The realization, the principle that for the “Thinker” the complex question we pose to them connects them to us in ways that are very powerful, is the foundation for effective communication with a “Thinker”.

Similarly, I have found in my practice and this was certainly verified in my doctoral research as well, that we can heighten communication with “Feelers” by speaking the specific language that they tend to prefer and giving them the deeper thing they really seek in a relationship; understanding and connection.


There is a three-step process for the Thinking Decider to engage the Feeling Decider:

1. Identify the Feeling Deciders Emotion:

2. Support that Feeling

3. Offer Reassurance

1. Identify the Feeling Deciders Emotion:

Please note the Thinking Decider does not need to understand the feeling, but merely identify the emotion the Feeling Decider is experiencing in that moment.

In other words, as a Thinker you do not possess in a natural sense “emotional empathy” but you can develop “cognitive empathy” which means you can read what people are feeling and respond accordingly, show understanding or treat them with empathic language.

Suggested language for this phase would be something like, “You must feel (worried or upset)…”

These two words, “worried or upset” represent and embody the wide array of emotions that feelers experience.

Telling the Feeler “Not to worry” is like asking them to stop breathing.

Worrying about things, is what they do.

As a Thinker, not having natural emotional empathy does not mean that you are anti-social at all.

It just means that to break the relational logjam, there will be moments when you need to have in your language repertoire connective, empathic language.

By the way, what would a leader or anyone be willing to choose such different language?

And further more and especially when the other person is “way too emotional” and you see emotion as at best secondary data, at least much inferior to logic and reason?

Well, here is are several reasons, that if you logically think about might help you consider such a radical departure from your current approach:

1. You are good person who enjoys the challenge of getting better.

2. You are a smart person who likes to solve problems.

3. This approach, if you are in an intricate and ongoing relationship and you need the target person’s cooperation, is the best and most effective way – my doctoral research demonstrated that it works 93% of the time, even in the most difficult situations – to change their reaction to you from a negative reaction to a positive reaction.

4. You understand that the world is infested with people who do not always see things your way, and learning facilitative communication is only serves to enrich and expand your repertoire such that you will use it (almost every day for the rest of your life. Read More

How to Communicate Effectively with a “Thinker” – Seven Golden Facilitative Questions

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How to Communicate With the Thinking Decider


If you are at all familiar with my books or have attended any of my seminars, I have likely made the point that my doctoral research clearly suggested that of the four neurological predispositional scales in Jungian psychology that the Thinker – Feeler deciding scale is the most conflictual.

Kilmann and Thomas conducted a study of the MBTI, the contemporary indicator and application of Jung’s work on Typology, correlating it to three conflict instruments and found the Thinker – Feeler scale to be a significant contributor to conflict, while the other three dimensions did not significantly do so.

I have found that by speaking the specific language that is comfortable and compelling for Thinking Deciders, the Feeling Decider can better communicate with the Thinker.

I encourage Feelers to ask open-ended, problem solving questions, such as “What do you think we should do…?”

The Feeling Decider continues to ask this open-ended, problem solving question process and quite interestingly as the problem is being addressed analytically and logically in the conversation the Thinking Decider becomes more considerate, empathetic and understanding toward the Feeling Decider.

This happens without the Thinker realizing the change that has occurred in him/her.

This empathy, understanding and connection of course are precisely what the Feeling Decider wanted in the first place.

In other words, the Thinker took the Feeler where the Feeler wanted the Thinker to go, without strain or conflict.

Remember, this is not an exact science, but an art form.

It does not make things perfect, it makes them better.

At least it does so relative to what might otherwise have been the case had you not used your T:F facilitative language. Read More

Communicating across the “Thinker – Feeler” Divide

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Communicating  across the “Thinker – Feeler” Divide

As you likely know, there are four scales in the MBTI.

Because the T and the F dimension in Jungian psychology tends to be the most volatile and difficult for most people, we will address it in greater detail than the other preferences.

Research indicates that 96% of the time people with either the T or the F conversational style want different language than the other because their fundamental decision-making process and goal are so different.

As you will see, the words and language they need from each other must be formatted differently and accordingly.

Before we talk about the specific language that each type needs, let’s take a deeper look at the disparity between the Thinker and the Feeler.

Facilitating Thinkers and Feelers When You Hit a Speed Bump

The following chart describes the precise language needed by the “Thinker” in the left hand column and the precise language needed by the “Feeler” in the right hand column.

We will expand on how and why in this newsletter/article and because it is such a crucial concept we will likely discuss it more fully in future newsletters as well.



Read More

The Most Common Disparity in Difficult Conversations: Thinkers and Feelers

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In the last newsletter (January), I alluded to the fact that over the years, I have developed an interactional process called, Facilitative Communication.

As shown in the Communication Process table below, facilitative communication simply means that when a leader or anyone for that matter “Hits a Speed Bump” and no longer has that comfortable and easy “Cruise Control” feeling that the savvy executive will consciously change her language in order to elevate the conversation, advance the relationship and create a transcendent resolution.

By transcendent resolution I mean  one that has the best of what you think; the best of what they think, but a solution that is better or superior to both.

Facilitative communication simply means that we know that we have communicated when we hear our thoughts, feelings and ideas coming out of the other person’s mouth, i.e., the words we initially wanted to say.

They tell you what you wanted to tell them.

They, then take you where you want them to go.

In other words, people generally are in love with the sound of their voice, not yours.

If you tell them they are “wrong”, in their mind you have suddenly become a “you-know-what”.

If you have a mindset that is genuinely curious and interested in them, that is to say, their point of view, and you know how to elevate the conversation that a very good thing will happen.

You will find that they will tell you what you wanted to tell them.

Their comment actually becomes for them the acknowledgement of a wise, judicious and rather mature person.

A positive conversation ensues and you both win.


And How in the Name of Heaven does a Leader do That?

We do this by leveraging the fact that the human brain cannot multi-task but can only iterate.

In effect, people cannot see what is right about their idea(s) what might be wrong, (likely your idea) about their point of view until they have fully expiated their argument and can then and only then see the opposite or different perspective.

A smart leader never forgets that after food, shelter and clothing people want one thing.

People want to be right and they want the glory for being right.

That realization and knowing what to do about it, my fiends is the essence of a facilitative conversation. Read More

The Stages of Interaction: the Communicate – Facilitate – Negotiate Process

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 The Communicate/Facilitate/Negotiate Interactional Process

There are four stages, a leader or anyone for that matter, goes through when she finds herself in a difficult conversation.

Each stage is part of a progression and hopefully the leader will know what to do to be able to end the discord right there, before things escalate.

These stages tend to happen sequentially, depending on each party’s reaction to the other person’s previous comment(s).

Remember corollary nine from the Law of Reciprocity (in several of my books actually; buy one) which says “When we recall a conflict, the recollection is usually a skewed rendering of the incident in question which says more about how we feel now and our mutual history than about what actually happened then.”

Having said that, each stage represents a deepening rift between the two parties but also a specific type of power you can use to diffuse or resolve the onrushing argument.

You can see this progression in the table below:


The Power and Communication Process



Automobile Analogy

You can see in the automobile analogy above, we normally, 80% of the time, (unless we have a bad history with the other person) start the conversation with the relative ease of being in “Cruise Control”.

In other words, everything and everybody is doing fine.

If we do not know what to do, the situation can or will accelerate or escalate to the next stage and if we are not careful we end up in column or stage four, a “Head on Collision”.

When or as the situation becomes more difficult, (I call this first sign of dissonance, hitting a “Speed Bump), the savvy leader needs to know how to move from Communication in column one to Facilitation in column two.

In other words, when we “Hit a Speed Bump”, the beginnings of a mild disagreement, we need to know to how to speak with the target person to resolve the issue but in a manner such that they take you where you would like them to go.

Read More

A Better way to say “No”

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The following excerpt is taken from “How to exert Influence when you Have no Authority”

A Better way to say “No”

At work, many times we have to say no to internal or even external customer requests because they aren’t priorities or because we aren’t the people who can help them.

The problem is people learn to say “No” too well.

This can easily become a negative experience for our internal customers and even more easily turn into a “pissing contest between the two parties.”

So how can we say “No” without turning off our internal customers?

Even better how can we say “No” and actually make people feel good about it (us)? Read More

The Hazardous and Perilous Plight of Being a Middle Manager and What to do About it – Part Three

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The following excerpt is taken from “How to Exercise Influence when you have no Authority

The hazardous and Perilous Plight of Being a Middle Manager – Part Three

Stage Two: Attitude

In the first article of this three-part series on middle management, we discussed why being a middle manager is so tough and the three things he/she can do about it.

In article two, we detailed the first of the three steps a manager can take, awareness.

In this part we will cover the last two steps.

In theory, each of us is capable of operating at any performance driver level.

If your boss wants you to be a Permission 40 driver, then start asking for permission.

If you want your subordinate to be a Self Directed 80 driver, just tell her and let her run with it.

How complicated can this be? In practice, however, we have comfort zones.

A good middle manager will stop dis-empowering himself and facilitate the comfort level of his workers.

On the other hand, you also want to pull/inspire them “up” or push them “out”. In other words, a good middle manager will make people feel a bit uncomfortable.

Remember, there is no growth in your comfort zone and no comfort in your growth zone.

The Two Main Reasons People Get Upset

People get upset when the authority level they need and want is not given to them.

1) The first or main reason is the threat or risk they feel.

The benefit of knowing the seven needs and reactions your workers have is that they will know they have done the most they can within their limits and obligations (your expectations with regard to both the “what” and the “how” of their job).

2) A second reason people’s attitude gets negative is when the accepted decision-making norms get shifted or revised after the fact. Read More

The Hazardous and Perilous Plight of being a Middle Manager and What to do About it – Part Two

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The following excerpt is taken from “How to Exert Influence When you have no Authority”

The AAA Middle Manager Power Process: Three Stages

Part Two

In part one we detailed the rather tricky business of being a middle manager and proffered a strategy for what to do about it.

In this segment, we will address the first of the three things a middle manager can do to be more effective.

There are three stages in which a middle manager or any executive for that matter can create a shared power process.

Stage One: Awareness

Stage Two: Attitude

Stage Three: Action

Stage One: Awareness

It is extremely important that you understand the level of authority that is needed between the Driver (them) and the passenger (you) in each given situation.

One clear indicator that something is wrong is when you feel irritated by what others are doing.

There is only one key question in Stage One:  What kind of driver-passenger relationship do we need in this particular situation?

You can recognize the seven driver/passengers relationship types by how they ask their supervisor (or others) for help (Figure Two). Read More

The Hazardous and Perilous Plight of Being a Middle Manager and what to do About it – Part One

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The following excerpt is taken from “How to Exercise Influence when you Have no Authority”

The Hazardous and Perilous Plight of Being a Middle Manager and What You Can Do About It

Part One

This post will be a three-part article because it is dealing with a very tricky business, being a middle manager.

A barren wasteland if there ever was one.

In several other programs I have emphasized how important it is to “contextualize” your communication with, between and among other people and departments.

This is especially true as a middle manager as he/she is surrounded, betwixt and between a boss, bosses, colleagues and direct reports.


 What to Say When Assigning a Task

Here is an example of what I mean by the term to systemically “contextualize”.

“Jimmy, with this task let me be clear as to what I am asking you:

1. I need and want this task to be done exactly the way “I” have assigned it (Football – Compliance), that is to say, both the “What” and the “How” are to be done precisely the way I have asked…

2. This project is more of a shared process (Basketball – Cooperation), that is to say, “We” will do the both “What” and the “How” together. So we will need to confer on an ongoing basis both when and how we think we should work on this…

3. This task belongs to “You” (Baseball – Competition), that is to say, both the “What” and the “How” belong to you; they are your responsibility… Read More