The Persuasive Power of Focus

Hi Persuader,

We live in a world of distractions and this, I feel, is an understatement. We have so much coming at us from all arenas. . . Even as I sit here typing this, I’m getting alerts that I have new e-mail, I’m getting instant messages from my assistant,  the dog wants to play, nature calls, I’m thirsty, the phone rings.  Phew.  It’s exhausting just to write a paragraph with all of the other things intruding on concentration and focus.

There’s an old saying, ‘If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.’  By scattering our energy, we are not giving adequate attention to the important task at hand.

Alexander Graham Bell once said, ‘Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.’

There are so many things we can and may be thinking about when we are interacting with a prospect or client. Our internal dialogue may have us worried about our breath or maybe we’ve got something stuck in our teeth. We might be worried about what the mechanic is going to tell us when we call them back or if the kids got to school on time. Issues large and small will battle for our attention and really what we need to be doing is focusing on our prospects and moreover, focusing intently on our prospects criteria and values.

I think of this focus as a flashlight. For example, if we aim our flashlight at a wall out in front of us, we might think we’re seeing quite a bit.  But say there’s something on a shelf that you really want to see. . . what do you do? Well, if you have a flashlight like mine, you have the ability to make the beam wider or narrower. When it gets narrower, it penetrates further. And when it’s wider, it shows me more space, but less distance.  By beginning to focus laser-like on one aspect, we can see more clearly what we want to see (in this case, what we want to know is what our clients want).

As persuaders, I would say one of the things to focus with our flashlight upon is the identity of the person that we’re talking to.

What did I just do? I adjusted the flashlight. I got clearer about where I wanted to focus.

I like to imagine that the client is a white board, I’ve wiped clean, wiped myself clean, and now they’re writing themselves onto that board of which I’m becoming a part of.  If we can focus on identity as persuaders, this would be a key area for which we can develop parts, a key area that we can frame and reframe. It’s a very powerful area.

The whole point of what we’re s persuaders is to learn to shine that light in various ways to best understand and provide what it is that our clients and prospects want. So take a deep breath the next time you are interacting with a prospect, and really focus that beam on them shutting out all other distractions.


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