About Vickie Sullivan
Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.
Written by: Vickie Sullivan | June 11, 2015
Why You Get Crazy Answers From Sane Prospects
Have you ever had a conversation with a potential client and think to yourself, “Wow, I’m in the Twilight Zone”? I have and I bet you have too.
In the early years, I used to think it was simple stupidity. At first, I’d argue with them (it didn’t end well). Later, I would not respond but silently judge their intelligence (I could see the word “idiot” flash across their forehead). Now that I’m older and a little wiser, here are two observations on why educated, smart people say crazy things.
Observation #1: they don’t know what they don’t know. Some folks swim in very different waters than we do. Their environments shield them from the reality that we know. Therefore, they only know what they have experienced. (Yep, all of us do this.) So when someone starts to spout of silliness, I think to myself, “That’s all they know…how sad is that.” This allows me to listen without judging. And to have the empathy that makes any conversation meaningful.
Observation #2: they won’t admit what they really think. Many folks think they have to come on strong in order to be respected. They have to be “confident” and have no idea that they have crossed into arrogance. I used to “cut them down to size”. Now, I acknowledge their brilliance (and ignore the delivery) and look for an opportunity to move towards the real issue at hand.
The above approaches help me deal with the biggest fear we all have: looking foolish. The faster we can move past the limiting behaviors of others, the faster we can serve. And isn’t that — serving the greater good — the whole point anyway?
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