The police officer was waiting for me as I returned to my Jeep. Seeing him lurking at my door conjured up mixed feelings. Part of me was indignant, after all what could I have done wrong while my car was standing still? The other part of me was intimidated by his looming presence.
As I got closer, he motioned me over to the passenger door. Together we peeked in through the driver side window. What was my offense? I had left the edge of a dollar bill sticking out of the console between the two front seats!
He wagged his finger at me, and taught me a lesson I remember to this day. Ten percent of the population will always steal, he went on to say. Ten percent of the population will never steal. Eighty percent of the population it depends on the circumstances, so do not give them the circumstances. And with those words of wisdom, he walked away and into infamy.
I do not know about the accuracy of his numbers. As a beat cop, I believe that his feet and eyes taught him as well as any research. What I did learn was to consider how this applies to our world on a daily basis.
Ten percent of the people we work with, sell to, and speak to will always get something out of every conversation, meeting, seminar, doctor’s, lawyer’s, or accountant’s appointment. Ten percent of the people we work with, sell to, and speak to will never get anything out of anything. And eighty percent, it depends on the circumstances!
Our job is to create circumstances to move as many people as possible from that eighty percent category to the ten percent that will act upon our call to action. Think about it, 80 percent of the people that go to a doctor, lawyer, or accountant may or may not follow the advice they receive. I will refer to them as the MAYBE category. Ten percent will always follow the advice. I refer to them as the YES category. Ten percent will never follow advice. I refer to them as the NO category. Your job, regardless of your profession, is to move as many people from that MAYBE category to the YES category.
How to move your client, audience, member, or guest from MAYBE to YES:
Identify Your Value
The more clearly you identify your value the more clearly your audience can identify your value. The faster you identify your value the faster you can move a person from MAYBE to YES. Most people identify their value incorrectly. Your value is likely not what you think it is. Ask others where your value lies. The question you need to answer is how do you make someone’s life better or different?
Clearly Communicate Your Value
Here is the litmus test. Let us pretend that Mike Wallace was still on the television show 60 Minutes. As a client leaves an appointment with you, Mike Wallace greets them on the other side of your door. He pushes a microphone into their face and asks your client, “What did he/she just tell you?” What would they answer?
Can you communicate your competitive edge in seven words?
Can you answer any question in the time it takes to walk across a room?
Protect Your Value
Your value does not lie in your competency. Let me repeat that: Your value does not lie in your competency. Regardless of your profession, at least one or two other individuals in your profession are credible. Your competency is assumed. Your prospects and clients assume you are competent.
Your value is a mixed cocktail: a combination of your competency and your ability to communicate confidence in your competency.
“If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem,” said Abraham Lincoln.
Even with the importance of confidence emphasized by our sixteenth president, people spend more time developing their competency than developing their ability to communicate their competency with confidence.
Ten percent of the people we work with, sell to, and speak to will always get something out of every exchange. Ten percent of these people will never get anything out of anything. Your success depends on the middle eighty percent.
For the MAYBE group, the old beat cop said, it depends on the circumstances. Your job is to make the circumstances work in your favor. As Project Runway’s guru and mentor Tim Gunn says, “Make it work.” The faster your value is identified the faster you can move a person from MAYBE to YES in order to arrive at the Promised Land.