What To Say by Russ DeVan

I have recently opined but consistently professed, for nearly three decades, that listening is the key to “what to say” showing up organically.

Although I stand by that opinion, it has occurred to me, recently, that the question comes from more than one kind of concern.

Primarily, I have offered it in the “approach” category; i.e. “What do I say to (interest someone, determine a prospect, etc.) However, there is another common “what do I say” dilemma. One that is often prone to creating panic. This is the what to say in response to….? “This is a pyramid.”

“Is this Network marketing?” “I’m not a salesperson!”

“I don’t know anybody.” Do you have any leads? “How much money are YOU making?” “If this is so good, why haven’t I heard of it?” “How much will this COST me every month?” “Do you have a brochure (information) you can give me….?” etc. etc. etc…..Sound familiar?

Now it is my sincere hope that this nightmarish little déjà vu trip down memory lane has not “triggered” (I HATE that word!) anyone. But that’s perhaps the best way to describe what happens to us networkers when we hear those types of things, isn’t it? Well, smile…Uncle Russ is here.

Here’s a question to empower you. “Where were you listening from?

What I mean is prior to these questions did you say anything that included the phrases: “I just got involved in or with…?” “I signed up in or joined…?” “You should take a look at….” Now you may be thinking, “How did YOU know, Russ?”  Uhhhm….because I’ve said them all and gotten those same reactions, that makes you silently reflect…”OH NO!”

By reacting (with our automatic listening) and responding or stumbling to defend out of panic, we solicit even more resistance.

This is how, in my experience, people “operate.” When we say certain things, we trigger (there it is, AGAIN!) responses from people that come from an association with an experience they’ve had before that was not, well, let’s just say, a “happy” one. So, if we are the “source” of the concern (not the same as “to blame for” btw) then we also are the solution.

If your relationship to what you are doing is disconnected, which I say is what; “I’m involved in…I signed up for…I’m with….” sounds like to people…they will make it into something they’ve heard before.

Could it be possible that “what to say,” once again, get’s back to how you are HEARING their question? If you hear it as “oops” or “uh oh” you may be thrown to automatic reaction.

So here’s an alternative: Hear it as a concern! I believe that behind ALL resistance is a concern we haven’t spotted…. yet!  Therefore, “what to say” now becomes being interested in the concern and it can disappear.

Resistance is an opportunity to explore…also, create time to think about what they are asking. Almost every question listed before can be explored and even disappeared by responding with: “What do you mean?” “Please say more about that.” “Do you have a concern?” Then give them a real choice about what to do, and most importantly, make it okay if they decline (no kidding.)

After making every mistake there is in a sales conversation, I have been known to START a conversation with: “I want to ask you something and I want you to know it’s perfectly all right to say no, or decline.”

Here are four questions that may serve you well in the future.

These are not questions others will ask you. They are ones you must answer for yourself. If you do, “what to say” will rarely be an issue. They go to the earlier inquiry: Where are you are listening from?

 Here they are:

> What am I building? (i.e. People don’t join companies, they join YOU!)

> Who does it include? (i.e., People who are open, love people, and are committed to being responsible for their own success.)

> What does it provide? (You, them, the world?)

> Why would someone want to be a part of it? Turn your radio dial to THEIR station WIIFM (What’s in it for me?)

In conclusion, from my viewpoint, there is no “one size fits all” answer to the “what to say” question. In the cases of “responding to…” what to say may depend (again) on identifying the concern that is behind the resistance.

I say where there is resistance you can best believe, there is a concern. Hear it, get interested in it, and the right thing to say will occur naturally. Bank on it!

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