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How to Identify Atypical Troubles


S: Why should we classify the troubles into known types?


T: Let me first tell you what to do with troubles that do not belong to any known type. Then it would be clear how to deal with the “typical” troubles.


We have already discussed that trouble is a disease, a problem, and fear, concern is its symptom. The symptom should be somehow connected with the disease. In medicine, the doctor knows about this connection. But in the case of sales, only the buyer knows how the objection is related to the trouble. It is time for the truth to come out, and the seller asks the buyer to tell the story, “How, in the case of purchasing our goods, your fear will lead to the trouble?”


For example, “If you buy the car of your dreams, how will it take you to jail?” The buyer will tell a story like this: “You see, I am a recidivist thief. I decided to quit, and now I’m working in a serious company. I really want to buy this car, I have long dreamed about it, but now I have just enough money to pay for it. The next paycheck is in a month, but I need to pay for registration, buy insurance, and feed this beauty with gas. After all, if I cannot ride it, why buy it? I also need to pay the bills for apartment, water, gas, electricity, telephone, Internet. Well, I need something to eat all month. If I pay you the full amount right now, I won’t have a penny left. There will be nothing to live on. There is only one way out, to start stealing again. I am a recidivist, so I am registered with the police. They will suspect me first thing. If they catch me, and they know how to, they will put me in jail for a long time.”


In this story, the logical chain is clearly visible: I bought a car – I spent all the money – I have to pay the bills – there is nothing to live on – I have to steal – cops will suspect me – cops will catch me – cops will put me in jail.


We should divide this story into two parts. The first is from the beginning to “I have to pay the bills.” All these things are variations and details of his concern that the seller asks for too much. There is a hint, reduce the price, and everything will be OK with me. The second part is from “there is nothing to live on” to the end of story. This is how the trouble happens. This second part needs to be addressed.


If it is possible to prevent at least one event from the second logical chain, it breaks and does not lead to the final result, to the customer’s imprisonment. We will talk later about how to do this while discussing the trouble-prevention algorithm. In the meantime, let’s stop here. We found out the “story,” broke it into separate events and identified those ones that lead to trouble.

How to Identify Typical Troubles

S: What is the difference between a typical trouble and an atypical one?


T: The latter has a typical second part of the story, a typical mechanism for implementing a threat.


This mechanism can be divided into three parts: the essence of trouble, the main components of this essence and the reasons why the buyer considers the trouble inevitable and unavoidable. Let’s look at an example of one typical trouble, then everything will become clear.

[It looks like we have a tautology here: ‘inevitable’ and ‘unavoidable’ are synonyms, right? Right. These words mean the same, right? Wrong. ‘Inevitable’ means that trouble will happen, guaranteed. ‘Unavoidable’ means that this trouble will affect the person or company badly, guaranteed. If trouble happens in any case, but could be avoided, it is inevitable, but avoidable. Of course, if trouble is evadable, preventable, then it does not affect anybody.]


Let’s take personal trouble “punishment.” The punishment could be anything from being carped at by the boss to... the sky is the limit. Here we consider any punishment, but in each particular case, of course, there are its own specifics.


The essence of this trouble is expressed as follows: the punishment depends on how much the revealed unjustified violation of the rules exceeded the tolerable threshold. What does this mean? People are punished for a violation of the rules. If no violation has been revealed, there is nothing to punish. As the saying goes, “no blood, no foul.” Innocent until proven guilty.


If the violation of the rules is significant, that is, exceeds the tolerable threshold, it is worthy of punishment. If the violation is insignificant, then there is no sense in punishing. So, how could one reduce the punishment? By justifying the violation of some rules by attempting to comply with other, more important ones. For example, one explains his misconduct as an attempt to achieve an important result for the whole company. If an excuse is accepted, the violation is reduced, and the punishment is reduced, as well.


This, in essence, could be expressed as a formula:


Punishment = revealing * (violation - justification) > threshold

Here we see four components that determine the punishment: what is revealed, what is violated, what justification is presented and accepted, and what is the tolerable threshold of the net violation.


Why does the buyer consider the punishment inevitable? From his point of view, the purchase of our goods could be done in only one way, and this way involves an unacceptable violation of the rules of the company. On the other hand, the processes in the company are organized in such a way that every violation immediately becomes apparent, and excuses are not taken into account. Under such conditions, punishment is inevitable.


And why does he consider punishment unavoidable? He is afraid that he will be revealed as a violator, his violation will be perceived as unacceptable, and there will be no excuses for him, or his excuses will not be taken as adequate. In addition, for some reason he assumes that a “zero tolerance policy” will be applied to him.

When working with this trouble, the seller needs, firstly, to figure out what kind of punishment the buyer is afraid of.


Secondly, the seller needs to find out what all these four components mean in this specific case: what rules are violated and what the violation consists of; how this violation is usually revealed; what excuses can be presented and accepted; and what level of violation is considered unacceptable. And thirdly, the seller needs to ask the buyer why he considers the punishment inevitable and unavoidable.


Next, both seller and buyer need to find how to avoid the threat of punishment.


Is it clear?


S: So far, everything is clear. But how could one avoid trouble that is unavoidable and prevent trouble that is inevitable?

Search for Troubles | 13 Dialogues on Win-Win SalesDialogue 5. How to Prevent Trouble

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