Backing the Ambulance Up To The Door: The 'Away' Perspective
By Kenrick Cleveland+
Advanced Persuasion, Persuasion Continuums
Before I get into the ‘away’ perspective in the towards/away continuum, I want to make a distinction between a truly negative personality and a person who is inclined towards moving away from a problem.
There are some people who think, ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’ I am not of that opinion. Putting on a happy face for everything is dishonest, even if it’s framed in the positive mental attitude way of turning lemons into lemonade or problems into challenges. I see the value in it, but I also see the value in really indulging in the ups and downs of life, experiencing the lows so that the highs feel so much more intense.
Conversely, I don’t like to be around people who constantly complain and view the world through the distorted lens of their inconvenience and misery. That kind of vibration, on a sustained basis, will bring your energy down guaranteed.
I am of the opinion that I’d rather have people be honest and accurate, and whether it is positive or negative is beside the point.
With that said, the ‘towards and away’ continuum is a filter that some (not all) people use when describing their circumstances in a particular context.
Say you’ve elicited your client or prospect’s highest criteria and it turns out to be security. And you say, ‘So ultimately, what will having security do for you?’
Now, security is a value that can be either towards or away, so you’ve got to listen very closely to the answer to this question to determine their direction.
‘Security. . .It’s going to completely keep me safe. I’m not going to have to worry anymore because I’m just sick and tired of worrying. I don’t know what the stock market’s going to do and I’m heavily invested in it and I just am tired of worrying.’
Is this person moving towards a solution or away from a problem?
Well, that’s pretty obvious. They’re definitely trying to move away from the problem.
With ‘away’ people, one of the prongs on the key to persuasion is what I like to call ‘backing the ambulance up to the door’. It’s like poking at a wound or sticking your tongue at a sore tooth. (Some people actually do that!) It’s like rubbernecking at an accident. It’s like helping them wallow in that feeling of fear and worry in order to show them the path to . . .in this case, security.
My response: ‘Well, exactly. That’s perfectly understandable. Because, really, the stock market is a really terrifying prospect right now. I mean, people have no idea how devastating it’s going to be when that thing finally crashes again. And I can totally understand that feeling of sickness and worry. Having no parachute, no safety net, no cushion would definitely be cause for worry. My clients have moved beyond that fear and are naturally safe and secure as a result of working with me.’
Determination of towards/away is a really powerful tool that enriches rapport immeasurably. Don’t ever try to force the away oriented person to see the silver lining or look through rose colored glasses. Just go along with them and bask in the fear and horror that you can eventually relieve them of.
Until Next Time,
Kenrick E. Cleveland