I remember the dinner well. We were in a restaurant on I-Drive in Orlando. It was InfoComm in June. My dinner companion was my counterpart at our new parent company. The acquisition had been complete for perhaps a month, and it was our first time together.
I am pretty sure his job was to get a read on me for his boss, who was now my boss’s boss. We hit it off as two veteran operations guys often do. Then he leaned in, “Let me give you an important piece of advice.”
He continued, “Our CEO can be pretty intimidating. He likes to ask hard questions – or at least questions he hopes are difficult. He is more interested in how you handle the question than the actual answer. So, here’s my tip:”
Of course, I am leaning in now too.
“When he asks a question, reply with two answers, two options, or two points of view. Never one. Always two.”
I looked a little puzzled so he continued.
“The first answer is one he already knew and he has sticky follow-up questions for that one. The second response will be something he hadn’t considered. It will throw him off. He won’t have a follow-up question ready and will leave you alone until the next test.”
“It’s a test?” I asked.
“Yes, he wants to be sure you are not just accepting things as they are.”
It was great advice and I did use it successfully on several occasions.
What’s more important is that this story forms the basis of my theory on Single Level Objections, which is what this week’s blog post is about.
I often talk about the role of Single Level Objections in Sales, but the technique plays well across all aspects of business interaction.Read the Blog