People like to work with and buy from people that they like. However, sometimes you need the other person to change their direction without leaving a stink on your relationship. Here are three strategies that can be used to help you get what you want in business relationships with the added benefit of making you come out smelling like a rose.
Human beings have an inherent need to be right. However being right can often come with some unintended consequence. For example, if you are right and assert your point without providing the other party a face-saving way to extricate themselves from the situation you run the risk of creating ill will. There is a better way.
You can be right without the other person feeling like they are wrong. Instead of exerting your right to be right, simply ask the other person for their advice or for further clarification. Asking another person for their advice or to provide you with an explanation allows them to be part of the decision-making process. Additionally, they will feel good about themselves because you came to them to seek their feedback. The act of asking for advice elevates them to an honored position.
Say you discovered that a fact a coworker referenced in a report is not entirely correct. Rather than state the fact used was wrong you could say “I was reviewing the draft you prepared and noticed a reference that left me confused.” By making it appear that you were confused about the reference, will encourage the coworker to reconsider the fact in the report and cause them to correct the problem. Since you perhaps saved them from an embarrassing outcome and asked them for advice they will feel better about the report and you by extension.
The face-saving technique described above makes use of a subtle technique of status elevation. Status elevation makes people feel better about themselves and in return, makes them more likely to see you as a friend. As I discussed in the post, Recognition Is A Powerful Appeal to Get Attention status elevation is a technique that satisfies an individual’s need for recognition.
A simple way to accomplish status elevation is by comparing a person to someone they admire or respect. “Your voice and cadence in that speech you gave reminded me of Ronald Reagan” Such a simple act will often cause the other person to open up and reveal personal information that they reserve only for close friends.
If you need to get information from someone such as a competitor, without arousing their suspicion or putting them on the defensive you can use elicitation statements. Elicitation statements are used to obtain information from a person without them becoming aware you are attempting to collect sensitive information.
People, in general, hesitate to answer direct questions, especially when the answer could involve divulging sensitive information. Using elicitation statements encourages people to reveal sensitive information without the need for making direct inquiries.
As I discussed earlier in this post, people have a need to be right. However people have an even stronger need to correct others. The need to correct others is almost irresistible.
Elicitation statements involve making a presumptive statement that presents a fact. That fact can be either right or wrong, it does not matter. If the statement is correct, the other person assuming you have in-depth knowledge and are an insider will affirm the fact and often provide additional details. If on the other hand, the presumptive statement is wrong, a person’s need to correct kicks in and they will often provide the correct answer accompanied by additional details.
Say you want to ascertain a vendors markup on a specific item they are selling. You might ask the salesperson for the sale price of the item. When they reply with the price, you would make an elicitation statement such as “Wow, you must have a 150% markup!” to which the salesperson with an irresistible need to correct you will often volunteer the real markup- “No way, we try to make our products affordable and only have a 50% markup.”
How can you employ face-saving, status elevation, and elicitation statements to get what you want in business relationships?
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