The Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul has a great history. The detective writer Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express here, it being the place to stay on arrival. The hotel has a gorgeous French patisserie, we were told it was well worth a visit.
We were not disappointed. An elegant room, a fabulous selection, attentive service. An experience of pure pleasure, feeling special, total bliss, fantastic value. How would it be if all our buying experiences were as good as this?
In contrast, I can think of other buying experiences where things haven’t been quite right for me. I have ended up feeling irritated, cross, upset – or all three – when choices have not been quite as they seemed. And this was for things that I would still have bought, even if I had known everything about them prior to purchase. I started to wonder how much I had colluded with the seller – hearing only what I wanted to hear – glossing over or not asking for full or relevant details. Holidays, beauty treatments, professional services, choice of schools, elective surgery, job offers, house extensions – you might have your examples too – the list goes on.
Turning it round, until this blog I used to think that my integrity would get in the way of my selling to you without full information. But is this true? How do I really operate and behave with you? In my field of leadership development, coaching and the development of teams, how do I help you to snap out of the collusion or fantasy about:
- The ease of the work (often you want it to be easy, but significant learning is always hard)
- The speed of the work (usually you ask for it to be fast, but embedding your learning is often slow, although there can be lightning fast breakthrough moments which you put into immediate practice)
- The impact of the investment (here’s the positive surprise – it’s usually much, much higher than you ever imagined).
I can now see that, whatever my intention, I have held back from saying all the things about the ease, speed and impact of your learning investment. I’m embarrassed to acknowledge that I was comfortable allowing you to make decisions with partial information. Here are some of the beliefs I used to have about you:
It’s too difficult for you to understand without an experience. So I guide you to a taster, a trial, a first session – telling myself that you can decide from a more informed place. I can now see that a more ethical place might be to explain it fully, allow you to understand full impact and likely consequences before you start. You might still want a pilot – but this time to help you confirm the approach.
You will get scared off from doing it if you understand it all from the start. So I let you understand the full implications of your decision little by little, bit by bit. A more ethical position might be to give you enough space and time to have the capacity to understand your decision in total, allowing for examination of your fears as well as your aspirations.
You will value price over relationship. My concern used to be that you will start with me, then buy from elsewhere when you are more informed. Talking with me is, in effect, the practice run. A more helpful attitude might be for me to focus on being so reliable, so trustworthy, so committed to meeting your needs, that after looking around, I remain the obvious choice.
So how am I translating these new insights into action This week I am:
Talking to a middle manager about completing the ILM Level 5 Certificate in Leadership and Management on a one to one basis with me. This time selling with integrity will mean that I will clearly point out the disadvantages of not being in a group, where there is the ability to bounce ideas and share with others. Having acknowledged this, we can then focus on the true and genuine advantages – being in charge of the timescales, linking with specific objectives, tailoring the learning. I will be able to trust the manager to make the decision which will meet her needs the best.
In conversation about extending my contribution to a Franchise Bid Team. Rather than holding out my hand for a contract extension whatever the brief, selling with integrity will mean telling them where and how I would really like to contribute more precisely, communicating how I can add to the shape of the programme. This way they get the best of me – as a leadership behaviours coach – helping me to get the best out of them. I can trust that the process will honour the bravery on each side and deliver the right outcome for all of us.
Listening to a senior director who wants to hire me to run a workshop for his team. Selling with integrity now means I will point out, rather than allude to, the fact that this will probably be difficult, uncomfortable and exposing for him en route to giving him what he wants and needs. I can communicate that his team needs him to go first and model the growing process for all. That I will be there to support him. And that the outcome is likely to be well worth the endeavour.
So how is my blog landing with you? Is my enhanced commitment to sell with integrity clear to you? Is helping you to achieve the biggest impact possible from your investment, whilst pushing us both to be more open, honest and genuine about ease and speed – attractive to you? Would you like to be in conversation about your authentic development as a leader, your need for winning behaviour, or the high performance of your team? Would you like to find out if my selling to you can be as fabulous as this cake?
Contact me for a coffee (maybe together with a piece of cake?) to explore how my expertise can help you create the solution you need and want. I promise to engage with you as someone who can handle full information, trust you to say when enough information is enough, and treat you as someone who can make a decision that serves you, that of your team and your business best.
Selling with integrity, buying with authenticity – it’s a fascinating combination. Let’s continue learning together, share your thoughts, questions and comments below. It would be great if we could make our experience also to be one of pure pleasure, feeling special, total bliss, fantastic value – just like my family’s recent experience of the Patisserie de Pera at the Pera Palace Hotel.
Photo credits: Martin How