Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Simple and Valuable Secret

November 2008

A Simple and Valuable Secret

My book, Double Your Sales: An Honest and Authentic Approach to Professional Selling, is about relational selling, and it's based on what I consider one of life's simplest yet most valuable secrets: Meaningful relationships depend on creating a credible story of your future together.

If you want to develop a relationship today, you must weave a common story of the future, a shared vision of tomorrow. Strong and lasting relationships belong to those who can create and nourish future mutual stories with others.

With a shared future story, relationships will emerge even in the harshest environment. Without a credible story of a future together, they won't, regardless what other conditions are present. A shared vision of your tomorrow is the sine qua non of every meaningful and ongoing human relationship.

Want proof? Just examine any "relationship" from any aspect of your life, by answering frankly these questions: "Do we share a story of our future together? Is it a story we created jointly? Is our story still lively and vibrant, or is it stale and sickly? Do we work at maintaining and updating it? Does it continue to inspire us both?"

If you answer these questions honestly, it will become glaringly obvious that the quality of any relationship is never better than the quality of the story of your future together. Real relationships are based on a shared future story. It's as simple as that.

So how can you use this secret? You can use this secret in lots of ways, both personally and professionally. You can strengthen your marriage or your bond with children, parents, or siblings by rejuvenating the story of your future together. You can mend a rift with a neighbor, with a co-worker, or in your church. You can "excuse yourself" from a phony and toxic relationship because you can begin to recognize that it has no future.

Knowing this secret will make you more perceptive about relationships in many settings. If you understand this principle, you can easily explain the existence--or non-existence--of long-term relationships everywhere and in every realm: in sales, in employment, in politics, in parenting, in the PTA.

With this secret in mind, you will recognize that without a credible story of a future together, all interactions, whether they are "one and done," or they are a string or series, are transactional, not relational. Two people or groups of people may occupy the same space, be it a home, an office, a business, a community, a political party, or a country, but without the presence of a shared future story, they are just cohabiting; they are not in a meaningful relationship.

And here's the best news of all. Once you know the secret, you'll see that it's not complicated to create a new relationship or to revive an old one. All you have to do is create and nourish the story of your mutual future.

This one simple secret can turn your business completely around. Abraham Lincoln once said, "If you can't make a living from your friends, you surely can't make one from your enemies." Or said another way, friends make better customers than enemies. And what is a friend? It's someone with whom you share a credible story of a mutual future.

If you can develop relationships with prospective customers by creating a story of your future together, they will buy from you and they will buy more from you.

My aim is to teach professionals like you how to do that comfortably, consistently, and compellingly in conversations with prospective customers. By mastering the art of building a credible story of a future together, you can double your sales easily, honestly, and authentically.

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