By Kent Mulkey

You may have asked — or been asked — the following question: “How do you motivate your team?”  The truth is, we can rarely motivate someone else to change. Our only hope is to help them find their own motivation for change.

Please, stop telling prospects what they need to do to change their situation. They will figure it out on their own. Treat them as smart, insightful adults who can make decisions that are best for them, even if it means staying home.

The most effective way to help others open their minds to consider alternative solutions is to listen. I know what you are thinking: You have heard this a million times before. But what I mean is to give people your full attention.

My Sales Pitch

Years ago, I sat in the lobby of our community with a prospect exchanging pleasantries before we switched gears to talk about his mom and her situation. He told me that he was ready for my sales pitch. “Excuse me?” Yeah, he said that all the other communities in town had a canned sales pitch or presentation of some sort. I apologized and told him that I hoped he wasn’t disappointed, but I didn’t have one.

My “pitch” was to simply listen to him talk about the challenges his mom was facing living at home, his own frustration with trying to get her to move out of her house. You know. You hear these stories dozens of times a week.

A word of caution: The No. 1 occupational hazard for a salesperson is that you stop listening. I mean really listening, with an intent to understand the other person, to gain insight into their life and what they need to do to change.

Save some time toward the end of the conversation to summarize. Check to make sure you understand the other person’s reasons for change, to see whether you’ve missed anything, and to inquire about their next steps.

Remember, help them accomplish their goals, not yours. Give them room to breathe!

And as always, stay curious.