“No matter what I say or how I say it, I don’t seem to be able to get through to my team! It is so frustrating!” This was a common theme shared by leaders at a recent workshop I ran – these were senior leaders, great people, and they felt so frustrated at their perceived inability to be able to consistently get through to their team and move them forward. And it wasn’t that long ago that I felt exactly the same. I thought that I was a terrific communicator, focussed on serving the team and creating an environment where they could be successful. However, no matter how hard I tried, I was only able to consistently get through to a small percentage of them – for the others, I may as well have been speaking swahili or moonglish! The guys would sometimes look at me with blank looks, and it was apparent that my message was just not getting through.
It took me some time, but what I realised, through research and asking mentors for help, is that our team often communicate on a different ‘frequency’ than us, and if we do not tune into this frequency, our message will more often than not, miss the mark. On the one hand, the leaders were thrilled to learn this information (for many it was a ‘light bulb’ moment), and on the other, they were desperate to find out the various ‘frequencies’ so that they could finally get their message through.
If you are frustrated right now with a feeling that your message is not getting through, this may help you. This is what we discussed :
- Many of us are so passionate about our ideas, our products or our services, that we focus most of our attention on the features and make numerous statements. We must remember that we are all emotional beings, and the vast majority of us will only be moved to action when there is emotion involved. So instead of simply focussing on the features, which really is all about us, we must focus on what’s in it for them, and recognise that movement will only happen if one of more of the following benefits are demonstrated to our team : 1) It will make money, 2) It will save money, 3) It will save time, 4) It will make them look good, or 5) It will make them feel good. If one or more of these benefits are not put on the table, nothing will happen. And always remember that evidence must be provided to support the benefit, such as statistics, a case study, testimonial, or a demonstration. Remember, make it about them!
As well as focussing on what’s in it for them, we also need to understand that there are 4 types of people that will typically be in any team, and if we are to persuade them, we must learn to speak at their frequency :
- The first type is the person who loves to be communicated to in Big Picture – they are very optimistic, energetic and can make quick decisions when they can see the benefit for them. They have a very healthy ego and use the word ‘I’ a lot in their communication. This person loves recognition, so to get through to them, ensure that your message has something in it for them. As soon as they can identify the benefit for them, you have them on side.
- The second type of person is also focussed on people, however they tend to focus on others before themselves. These are amiable people, they are steadfast, grounded and well respected. They can sometimes be slow in making decisions because they are always focussed on the impact on others. Above all else, this person is seeking harmony, so when communicating to them, make sure that when talking about benefits, the benefits are clear for their people, the wider team, and the business. Do this and you have a much better chance of getting through to them.
- The third type of person is the person who loves the details – they thrive on designing and then following processes and procedures and will continue to ask questions to get to the bottom of the topic. They can sometimes be quite stubborn, so make sure that you provide them with lots of detail. Also understand that they can be quite sensitive as well – they will defend their position until provided with definitive evidence. And if you are looking to them to make a decision, be aware that sometimes they find it hard to make decisions because they are constantly in search of more detail. However, they can be great team players when it comes to running governance and managing adherence to process. To maximise your opportunity to get through to them, focus on providing heaps of detail with credible evidence on where it came from. Do this and you will be speaking their language.
- The final type of person is the one who simply focusses on the bottom line – they want results. You will notice that they will use very direct language and can sometimes appear impatient and abrupt if you don’t get to the point quickly. They may even challenge you and the team in meetings because they are motivated by achievement. You can get these guys on board quickly if you can show them that they can achieve great results rapidly.
Through sharing and discussing these insights, I could see the leaders in the room let out a collective sigh of relief. For many of them, this was an epiphany and what they realised was the people who they were getting on board, were on the same frequency as them. Now they understood that simply by changing the way they communicated and targeting specifically what motivates each type of person, they could exponentially improve their ability to persuade and influence their team and get their message through. And this would help the entire team.
If you want to know how you can better persuade and influence your team, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
To your continued leadership success.
If we haven’t already connected via LinkedIn, I would love to connect. Please click this link to send me an invitation.
Also, be sure to download a FREE copy of my e-Book “Lead With Influence – The 7 Strategic Keys to Unleash Your Sales Leadership Potential”. Click on this link to download a copy.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post – I greatly appreciate it, and welcome comments and feedback. Please feel free to comment below, to follow me on LinkedIn, or to connect via Twitter, or Facebook.
Darren is a Sales Leadership and Sales Performance Coach, Facilitator & Speaker. He is an experienced and committed coach with a background of sales leadership success in large organisations. He applies a genuine focus to coaching and developing high performing sales leaders who are looking to unleash the potential of themselves and their teams.