Jim Treliving and Arlene Dickinson have added published author to their lists of career achievements. Harper Collins has published Jim's Decisions: Making the Right Ones, Righting the Wrong Ones (Get it online from Amazon or Indigo) and Arlene's Persuasion: A New Approach to Changing Minds" (Get it online from Amazon or Indigo.

Every week we'll publish an excerpt from one of these books that ties into the lessons from that week's episode. This week we turn to page 131 from Arlene's Persuasion:

"Preparing for persuasion is only partially about figuring out what you want and what you have to offer. It's primarily about trying to figure out what matters - or what should matter - to the other party. In marketing, venture is often asked to bid on new business, and we know going into these types of meetings that we're up against other good firms that will pull out all the stops to try to dazzle the client and land the account.

"As much as possible, I try and get our team to focus not on the other contenders and what they might say or do but on the client's actual business. We survey the marketplace, figuring out what the client's competitors are doing well (and not so well); we look at historical trends; we look for possible niches and opportunities for the client; we keep an eye out for obstacles and looming problems; we try to find out as much as possible about a client's corporate culture and the leader's personalities. We try to immerse ourselves in their world and learn to speak their language in an attempt to understand what motivates and drives them. Gearing up for a single meeting can take a team of people weeks of research.

"The main purpose of all this, though, is not to blow the client away with our brilliant insights into their industry. It's to ensure that we know the lay of the land well enough that during the meeting, we can look outward and focus on the client and the client's input, rather than looking inward and racking our brains for facts, figures and something smart to say. When we know our material inside out, we can give the client our full attention. As with job interviews, or even dates, you have only a matter of minutes to persuade people that you're genuine and try to spark some sort of emotional connection. The better prepared you are, the more you can focus on keeping the other person engaged."

Excerpt from: Persuasion by Arlene Dickinson. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Copyright © 2011 by 761250 Alberta Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

« Back to Blog