Choosing Your Own Way
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances – to choose one’s own way.” – Victor Frankl
Every time I hear someone talk about “thinking outside the box” I chuckle. Like any cliché or catchphrase, thinking outside the box has been so overused as to become downright irritating.
From business coaches and management consultants to the realms of education, sports, sales and self help… think about how many times you’ve heard someone say in order to succeed or break through to higher levels of achievement, we have to step outside of the boxes that society has dictated we exist in.
Well, what is this box and why is it such a hindrance? And isn’t this just another way to say we need to be creative with the frames that we use to view the world?
I agree in theory with this concept in that persuasion requires a fluid creativity and flexibility that is not easily contained by restrictions and limitations. Business has been reduced to a rigid constant in many respects. Trying to distill something as broad as business, and something as complex as sales, into easily digestible bites has been something old fashioned sales and marketing trainers have long tried to do.
Every situation is particular, each client or prospect has a very specific key or trigger which our creative sleuthing requires us to uncover. Remaining static is not an option in this quest. We have to have agile, almost yogic minds, able to bend the way our prospect bends, and twist the way our clients twist.
We’re not all cookie cutters. Unfortunately old-fashioned sales training has attempted to turn people into just that. It’s the same thing over and over. Instead, and through the process of learning persuasion, we don’t have boxes to begin with. We have frames, which like a pair of glasses can be changed according to what we’re wearing or whether it’s sunny out. The frames we use are far more powerful in determining our prospect or client’s needs and desires as we work with them.
When we choose how we view the world instead of allowing outside forces to choose for us, we have a magnificent capacity to influence and sell like never before.
Our capacity to frame improves with practice (similar to all things from learning a language, to learning an instrument, to learning yoga or starting an exercise regime). We absolutely do improve the more we try something. There’s no getting around that. The key is to do it. And do it again.
Writing out exercises and repeating language patterns within our given fields, coming up with lists of objections that we commonly get and then reframing the objections before they even come up in conversations with our prospects and clients, studying the thirty six Chinese stratagems as a way to further our internal understanding of what it means to be persuasive. . . these are easy steps to really installing in yourself the ability to persuade powerfully.