“Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.” Variations of this line were always a part of Laurel and Hardy movies. In fact, the pair made a film in 1930 with the title “Another Fine Mess.”
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about things I had learned at the Radio Show 2016 in Nashville and one of those things was about “sharing your messes” during a presentation I attended given by John Bates. What I will share today are some of the points John made amplified by my own personal experiences in the classroom and on the job.
3 Ways to Inspire & Connect
John said there are three ways to inspire and connect with people or an audience. Logic is not one of them. We are emotional creatures and to engage people you first need to touch them emotionally. I know from my sales training from the Wizard of Ads – Roy H. Williams – that you first must touch a person’s heart before you will win their mind and their wallet to buy whatever it is you’re selling.
John next said our human eyes are unique. We are the only living creature that has white in our eyes. We always know where a person is looking (or not looking). Our eyes enable us to better cooperate with one another.
Our conspicuous eyes mean we can immediately sense authenticity when dealing with others.
Your Message is Your Mess
I don’t know about you, but over my career I’ve learned that success teaches you very little. It’s our screw-ups that are the great teacher of life’s lessons.
When things are going great, the natural impulse is to not do anything to screw it up.
Likewise, when teaching another person, only sharing your successes imparts very little knowledge. However, when you share the things that went wrong, and how you learned from these little disasters, and how you changed course to not have something like that happen again, real knowledge is shared.
Les Brown puts it this way: “People don’t connect with your successes; they connect with your messes.”
Life’s real knowledge message is in your mess.
Let Me Tell You about the Time I Screwed-Up
My students tell me that how impactful my sales lectures are when they contain stories about the things I did wrong, learned from and grew from, by messing it all up.
Wow, they say, a teacher that doesn’t know it all, that makes mistakes and became a better person through failure. It lets them know that failure isn’t fatal and can provide some benefits.
I vividly remember the time a new hotel came to town and I went in to see the new manager spewing facts and figures a mile a minute. I had thoroughly prepared for the meeting and I was there dumping all of my prep on his head. The only problem was, I had not touched this new manager on a emotional level and I never asked him what he wanted to achieve. I would be the only media property to not be on the initial buy.
I went back to see the new manager, hat-in-hand, to find out what I did wrong. I’m grateful that he would share with me why I wasn’t bought. Turns out, I was such a fast-talker he figured me to be the conman in the group of media sales people who had initially come to call on him. What he quickly learned was, I knew my stuff and that we should work closely together going forward. It was my first impression that needed working on, he would tell me.
I would learn that when you meet someone for the first time, you need to not “spill all your candy at the door” but shut-up and listen first. Establish common ground and build rapport on which a solid relationship can be built upon.
Losing that sale taught me a valuable lesson that would greatly improve my new radio sales career.
Make a Difference
So don’t be afraid to share yourself with others. Let them in and show them you’re human.
My sales mantra when calling on a new business was always make a friend. People buy from people they know and like. They buy from their friends.
People who listen to the customer, define how success will be measured and make a difference will never have to worry about making a sale.