What distinguishes a story from a narrative and why is that distinction significant?
A story is a collection of facts or events that are connected by a chronological order, a timeline, and characters. A narrative, on the other hand, is the interpretation of a story from the viewpoint of an individual or group of individuals, influenced by their experiences, feelings, emotions, and circumstances. The significance of narrative is found in how it can affect negotiations and how several readers can have diverse interpretations of the same story.
What tips would you give to those negotiating in regards to comprehending the opposing party's narrative?
When negotiating, it's crucial to grasp the other party's viewpoint and how they interpret the tale, as well as their priorities and values, and how they perceive how they arrived at that point. To do this, pay attention to the narrative rather than simply the story. It's also crucial to keep in mind that people buy for their own reasons and not for those of the seller, and to recognize that another person's purpose could not be the same as the agenda of their employer.
What significance does it have in the context of negotiation to comprehend the power of constructive conflict?
Constructive conflict, according to Allan Tsang, is crucial to successful negotiations because it enables difficult discussions with individuals who hold divergent opinions and viewpoints, prevents escalation, promotes consensus, and acknowledges that sometimes opposing viewpoints are the result of misunderstandings or misaligned expectations.
What is the significance of using a long-term approach in negotiations and sales?
Playing the long game in sales and negotiating is crucial because it concentrates on creating long-term agreements that won't readily break apart rather than short-term victories that can be obtained by lying or deceiving. Instead of thinking about competition and winning or losing, it's crucial to consider how the mission and purpose of both sides might be advanced.
Marcus Cauchi: Hello. And welcome back once again to The Inquisitor Podcast with me, Marcus Cauchi. Today, I'm delighted to have as a return guest, Allan Tsang from Oblinger & Tsang and also a co-founder of the Negotiation Tribe.
Marcus Cauchi: Allan, welcome.
Allan Tsang: Hi Marcus. Nice to be here again. So it's a pleasure.
Marcus Cauchi: It, it feels like it was only yesterday.
Describe the difference between story and narrative and why the difference is important?
Marcus Cauchi: So today we are gonna talk about something that people really generally misunderstand. Uh, which is narrative. What I'd like you to do if you would, is describe the difference between story and narrative and why the difference is important?
Allan Tsang: Narratives are important because that is what drives people to take action for good or bad, for themselves, or for others. Stories throughout history has been the way that generations have taught the next, the, the young, younger kids, right? Uh, their oral stories. Stories are a series of fact or events that is threaded together. It's got a chronological order, it's got a timeline. It's got characters in it.
Allan Tsang: Narratives occur when someone interprets that story from their perspective. They're now a player within it. They have individual narratives and then you have collective narratives. Look, there are courses on it and I'm not gonna summarize a whole graduate course on narrative on it one hour. So we, so we just talk a little bit about from a negotiation point of view, how do narratives influence how we negotiate so that the importance of narrative is you can have two people experiencing or listen to a story and they'll interpret it differently.
Allan Tsang: They're gonna pick out different facts from within the story to support their own narrative.
Marcus Cauchi: Understood. So where people are coming from, determines the narrative, their interpretation of a particular story or event.
Allan Tsang: Yes, their experiences, their feeling, even their emotions. And their circumstances would influence how they see a story. I can, you can listen to a story and a easterner and a westerner would interpret a story differently.
What advice would you give to people who are negotiating with somebody?
Marcus Cauchi: Interesting. Okay. So in terms of negotiation, what advice would you give to people who are negotiating with somebody in terms of doing their research, about the individual that they are negotiating with in order to ensure that you understand how they are likely to respond to a story because of their narrative?
Allan Tsang: So we are gonna, we are gonna begin with the end in mind here. We actually wrapping up the, the podcast and starting here. So in the negotiation, a lot of times people would try to do discovery and listen for a story.
Allan Tsang: They should instant listen for the narrative. How does the person see the story from their perspective. How does it influence how they feel about it, or how did they feel when they were experiencing the events? What do they find? What do they find important within that story? They're gonna pick certain facts out and usually they impose they, they, they superimpose values and morals into that story.
Marcus Cauchi: That's really interesting. Okay. If you are selling to somebody, it's important to have them tell their story, to paint the picture as they see it. And if you are then listening out for the narrative, rather than paying attention to the story, you are going to identify what their values are, what their priorities are and how they perceive how they got to that moment.
Allan Tsang: Correct.
Marcus Cauchi: Very fast.
Allan Tsang: An example would be like this. I'll give you a very short example. And then, uh, we'll, I'll share some more stories later. So, um, there was an account manager trying to sell into a company and this procurement person would not allow this longstanding relationship increased their price by 4% that year and they did a lot of discovery. And he couldn't get, get, get the point across that he needs to increase price by 4%. The procurement person said, no, we cannot raise 4% this year at all. We can't do it. So he came to me and we chat and I said, go find out what, uh, what's her story. What's her story, not the company story.
Allan Tsang: The company says no 4%. When we got into her story, she goes, well, I'll tell you what, this year I have metrics imposed on me to keep my costs down. And if I can keep my costs down, I get certain bonuses. He said, and so she said, if you would allow me not to, if you would allow us not to increase price on this batch of work, I can take work from another supplier and give that to you.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. People buy for their reasons, not your reasons.
Allan Tsang: Exactly.
Marcus Cauchi: And understand.
Allan Tsang: Yes.
Marcus Cauchi: Sorry. Go on.
Allan Tsang: And even within the company, the procurement person has her own agenda. That may not even have aligned with the company's agenda.
Marcus Cauchi: I have two examples of this, one, my friend Paul, uh, was training a large IT company and one of the sales people received an RFP and they weren't gonna bid because it was in Germany with a German company who was using a German software provider for everything. Uh, anyway, long story short, the salesperson, put it in at full fees, full price list. And, uh, a week later he received, uh, the order. He'd left the company about six months later and started working for another company. And he met the CTO, uh, who had moved. And it turned out the reason he did it was he wanted, uh, their brand on his CV and he was ready to move. He'd been at the company a few years and, uh, had decided that he was going to issue it to them no matter what. And that was 3 million euros.
Marcus Cauchi: Now, another example of this, uh, my pal Nick Ayton took out the CEO of one of their prospects. They were trying to do a big outsourcing deal and it transpired that actually the driver behind the CEO's decision was him being able to exercise his options. So what he needed to have was a management consultancy project that proved that he, uh, had done a great job and he could go out on a high and not only did they win the management consulting piece, but they also won the outsourcing deal that they're originally going for. Because they found that they found the individual human it's a bit like poker. Uh, you play the man, not the hand.
What are the clues that one should look for to filter out the narrative from the story and to keep your own narrative out of the way?
Marcus Cauchi: So tell me this then, what are the clues that one should look for to filter out the narrative from the story and to keep your own narrative out of the way? Because my suspicion is it's very easy to filter rather than, uh, seeing things as they are. You might see things as you would like them to be.
Allan Tsang: That's a great question.
Allan Tsang: If you listen to someone, tell a story, versus them telling their narrative, their narrative would have a lot more of, I did this, this happened to me, this was done to me. So they would see themself as one of the, the players as a hero or as a villain. Or in, um, in the, in The Power of Ted, uh, there's a book by, uh, David Emerald is The Power of Ted, the empowerment dynamic. And, uh, you, you, I think you we've talked about this, like the drama triangle and the empowerment dynamic, and you, you have someone that would, uh, see themselves as a rescuer, someone being painted as a persecutor and someone identifying themselves as a victim.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. Yeah.
When a person has a narrative that is reinforced over and over again, it can have positive or negative impact on their behavior
Allan Tsang: So when they start taking, uh, like a prominent role or things that were happen, happen, that happened to them, and that was out of their control, they have now put themselves into it and they have, uh, a narrative. And when a person has a narrative that is reinforced over and over again, it can have positive or negative impact on their behavior.
Allan Tsang: Just like, even in a, in a, in a community, right? If you have a, a, a group of people within a community, let's call 'em a subgroup and they experience negative actions from a majority group, they start to tell themselves a story and they start weaving for themselves a narrative. And we call this a collective narrative.
Allan Tsang: And that's when you have rebellion or you have civil war, people act on that. And within it, they have values. Usually I was unfairly treated, I was abused, I was bullied. Right? So there's all these different narratives that people would tell. And within it, you hear a lot of their story like me, I done to me. And then there's value there's values imposed.
Marcus Cauchi: Interesting. Okay.
Ego thrives on drama
Marcus Cauchi: So one of the, uh, fundamental lessons that I've learned over the years is ego thrives on drama. So the moment you see or hear anybody taking up the position of victim, persecutor or rescuer, that's their ego being hooked. And one critically important bit of advice is to not get sucked into that psychological game.
Marcus Cauchi: The problem is the moment. Someone takes the position of victim, they're normally moving into the position of persecuted shortly afterwards. And they then turn it on you, and it's so important that you prevent yourself from getting sucked in.
Allan Tsang: That is so true. That reminds me of a story is a tragic story, tragic story, a person who saw himself as a victim, turned himself into a persecutor. He at first reached out to someone that he wanted to, to pull into his world as a rescuer. And then later he saw the rescuer as a persecutor.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm
Allan Tsang: It's interesting.
Marcus Cauchi: People, um, who are caught up in the drama triangle swap positions. In fact, you often, you don't even need someone else because you can play all three positions yourself if you're stupid enough to. I remember, um, a few years ago, my wife Suzanne suggested then that, uh, she was going to redecorate the living room and DIY in my household stands for don't involve yourself. So I kiss a good night, went to sleep and it was Saturday morning and she was down there and I was quite happily watching the cookery programs and snoozing and 11:26, I thought, oh, I wonder if she needs help classic rescuer response. She didn't ask for my help anyway, so I went downstairs and I said, do you need help victim voice and said only if you want to. So I read that as do better bloody well do it. So off I went to the garage, I got my bucket and brushes came back and I was pulling wallpaper off with a thundercloud and rainstorm and, uh, you know, fell over my head. And after about eight or nine minutes, she leans across and says, Marcus, are you okay? You don't seem fully engaged in this and says, well, victim. But you know, I had a hard week anyway, long story short, she said, I know you've had a hard week. I've hardly seen you. And I thought it would be nice if we did something together.
Marcus Cauchi: When I said only if you want to, I meant only if you want to. And I'd managed to play all three positions without involving her. Sorry, Suzanne.
Allan Tsang: Nice.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah, absolutely.
Allan Tsang: You guys are gonna have a interesting pillow talk tonight after she listens to this. She's like, what do you mean?
Marcus Cauchi: I've used this story many times to illustrate my stupidity and the point.
What's really important is to understand the antidote to the drama triangle
Marcus Cauchi: What's really important is to understand the antidote to the drama triangle, the antidote, to letting your narrative color your judgment of the other person is the winner's triangle. Instead of being a victim, you're vulnerable. Instead of being a persecutor, you're assertive. Instead of being a rescuer, you're nurturing an empathic.
Worry, is interest paid in advance on borrowed trouble
Marcus Cauchi: And the beauty of that is that you can be fully present. The problem with the drama triangle is it drags you into the past or causes you to worry about the future. And one of my favorite quotes from David Sandler is Worry, is interest paid in advance on borrowed trouble. And I, I think far too often, one's attachment to an outcome, attachment to being perceived in a particular way in the procurement lady's case, the attachment to her bonus meant that it gave leverage to the salesperson. When they finally worked it out and the smart money stays in the winner's triangle, but it's very difficult to let go of attachment.
What is the concept of attachment in negotiation and why it represents an Achilles feel for the negotiator who has it?
Marcus Cauchi: So talk to me about the whole concept of attachment in negotiation and why it represents an Achilles feel for the negotiator who has it?
Allan Tsang: Let me understand a little bit of what you mean by attachment.
Marcus Cauchi: Attachment means that you want something to happen in a particular way. You want a specific result. You wanna win this deal. So you keep your job. You wanna win this deal because you want the commission. You have a particular view of your place in the world and someone else is, uh, you know, spoiling that. Um, so you then put them into the possession in your mind of persecutor.
Allan Tsang: Gotcha. Well, uh, in that case, attachment is incredibly dangerous because it's a, it's it sounds like these are outcomes that you have no control over .
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Allan Tsang: And it prevents you from being in the moment and truly listening deeply and doing great discovery, deep discovery into the world of your counterpart.
Constructive conflict and why that is an important skill to develop in the context of negotiation?
Marcus Cauchi: So again, I can't stress enough how important what Allan has just said is. If you are fully present, then you will be operating from that winner's triangle from a position of objectivity and authenticity. The moment you are sucked into a place of attachment. And in fact, the Buddha said it better than me attachment is the root to all misery. Then what happens is you start replaying old past hurts and you drag those feelings into the present and you superimpose them on the, uh, in the moment. And, then you start making judgements and that's where prejudice comes in prejudgment. And this is where you start entering into the world of blame, excuses, avoidance, and you facilitate conflict and it's not constructive. It's the destructive type. So let's talk a little bit about the power of constructive conflict and why that is an important skill to develop in the context of negotiation.
Allan Tsang: Constructive conflict. Well, by the time we get a conflict, there's already, that's what it is a conflict, right? So a constructive dialogue with people of different ideas or perspective would be how I would look at it. So it's important for us to be able to have difficult conversations with people that have different ideas and perspective to avoid escalating to the point where there's conflict.
Allan Tsang: Once we get to a conflict. We want to deescalate that in order to go back to having that difficult conversation where our perspectives are different. So it's almost cyclical, it's cyclical. And if you look at it as a spiral and as it spirals up, we go to, we moved towards agreement and on the bottom we have opposing ideas or opposite ideas.
Allan Tsang: Or perhaps we even have the same ideas, but we are expressing it differently. And therefore we view the other person as having an opposing idea. But sometimes after people talk through what they'd really see or how they see things and Marcus, you may come across that as they go, oh, we actually see things the same.
Marcus Cauchi: Often you are in violent agreement, but you are misinterpreting because of that narrative and history and also mismatched expectations. I think the mother of all fuckups, you know, the mother of disappointment of mismatched expectations is ambiguity. And one of the things that I really love about the work you and Dan are doing is that whole concept of mission and purpose.
Marcus Cauchi: And would you mind just ex uh, defining what you guys mean by that?
Allan Tsang: Mission and purpose are two different things, but we, we kind of lump them together. In a negotiation, the mission is the overall goal the long term aim. What the other party wants to achieve, what are they setting out to, uh, accomplish, right? The purpose, is event based and each event drives and moves the efforts towards their long term mission.
Marcus Cauchi: It's almost like purpose is the story, whereas event is the narrative.
Allan Tsang: You mean, the mission is the narrative?
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, sorry. Mission is the narrative. Yeah.
Allan Tsang: Yes. Similar, I would say the narrative is the mission, what they really want.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Allan Tsang: And then each event is a sub plot.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay, got it.
Allan Tsang: We we're gonna move the sub plot a little bit along until the whole narrative is told from their world, from their perspective. Never from you as the seller's perspective. They don't really care about
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely
Allan Tsang: Why you went into business and, and people sell that a lot. They only care about how are they gonna, how are you gonna help them move their company and their efforts towards their long term aim?
Marcus Cauchi: Well, again, this is where I think sales has gone so off the rails. Because at the heart of everything that we do, we need to keep in mind that the customer is only interested in they're delivering on their outcomes for them to be successful. They don't care that you want to go on the president's club holiday to Barbados. They don't care that you've got a quota.
Allan Tsang: I've got a salesperson tell me this Marcus, you're gonna get a kick out of it. I went to buy a car and a car salesman goes, I am so close to winning this, uh, trip to, to Caribbean. This is pre COVID. And in my mind, you know what I'm thinking?
Marcus Cauchi: Leverage.
Allan Tsang: Oh yeah. I don't care. And now that I know you need to do it then, okay, that's gonna mean a lot to you. To the point Marcus is willing to lose money on selling the car.
If you don't have that concept of buyer safety front end center, then they cannot trust you
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. Cause it's not his money. That's the other thing. But I think a really important theme that I'm driving home is this concept of buyer's safety. I fundamentally believe sales has lost its way. Because of the way sales is now driven towards quarterly quota attainment. Um, being very transactional and our job, uh, is to help our customers achieve their outcomes. That's why sales exist. It's a service profession. And if you don't have that concept of buyer safety front end center, then they cannot trust you. Because your selfish self-interest is being served before theirs. And if you're not ready to surrender the outcome in order to achieve the outcome that they need, even though you may be coming at it from different positions and knowing that when you start out, you will not have reached agreement.
Marcus Cauchi: Ultimately ,your success is dependent on helping them deliver their success. So one of the conversations you and I have had many times is about creating a steady stream of strong and sustainable little agreement after little agreement, after little agreement. And being willing to engage in challenging conversations without being disrespectful. But recognizing that you are the expert in your field, um, and it is your responsibility to make sure that your customer is safe for making a bad decision.
Marcus Cauchi: If it's not right for you or it's not right for them. All you're going to do is create a problem for yourself down the road. And there are times when it does make sense to walk away from, uh, the wrong type of business. If you cannot find consensus that both sides can live with eventually, then you have no business selling them.
Allan Tsang: Absolutely. I mean, even Dan, Dan and I, there are some cases it's very rare, very, very rare. But it does happen that there are some students that we have to invite for them to leave the program.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm
Allan Tsang: Not everyone is an ideal student. Not everyone is an ideal client. Sometimes you have to invite them to just walk away or leave the program.
Allan Tsang: We give them the right. We give them the right to say no to us.
It's your responsibility to be a fantastically astute listener
Marcus Cauchi: Fair enough. I think it's important to do that because that lowers, resistance. And it eliminates the threat because no one wants to be strong, armed into the wrong decision. And no one buys products or services, makes investments because they, uh, want to deliver lower value.
Marcus Cauchi: No one comes to you because they want to make a poor business decision that has lasting ramifications for themselves and the company. So it's your responsibility to be a fantastically astute listener. And listen for what's not being said often as much as what is being said and listen for the nuance. And I think this is where sales has gone wrong as well, because so many sellers are under pressure to try and get the deal in this month. No matter what. And that I think is an abuse of the possession. Your thoughts?
Winner's triangle drama
Allan Tsang: Yeah. We're talking about that. Winner's triangle drama, triangle. The whole mindset that is destructive, right? With your permission, I like to circle back to narrative and story because that's the podcast. Right? And I wanna share a tragic story.
Allan Tsang: I think your audience may like, because I see this played out in many different companies. And this falls right into that drama triangle that we talked about. So picture this picture, this guy, um, we're gonna call him Joe. This is a, I'm gonna call this a fictional story. The fictional story and even it resembles any actual story. It is purely coincidental. Okay, so does Joe, Joe works at a company he's been there for 20 years .Picture this, great engineer, worked in the company for 20 years. He's doing sales, sales, engineering, his account manager. And, uh, he did well. He grew some accounts and over time his accounts got bigger and bigger, but then close to 20 years ,things change, business change.
Allan Tsang: Just in the last 10 years, the way people sell has already changed. Marcus, you've seen that.
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely.
Allan Tsang: Problems start creeping into his accounts. Customers are unhappy. His boss had to bring in help to help him. He's had multiple sales managers and his COO trying to help him. Some of his accounts basically did not want him on their account anymore.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm
Allan Tsang: And so they had to be reset with another account manager. Basically, they said, either we are gonna leave you and find another, uh, supplier, or you, we are gonna frustrate you till you fire us. So they had to be reset or they were gonna be lost altogether. The boss felt he has been there for a long time. And for that reason, for his loyalty, he wanted to keep him until he retired from there. He was close to retirement, but then because some of his accounts were lost, he had a salary decrease and then COVID made it worse. Things were not working out for him because he didn't save enough money for retirement. So he wanted a salary increase. He asked for an increase. His boss says no. So he sent in, he sent a resignation letter.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm
Allan Tsang: The boss accepts the resignation letter starts to hire a replacement. And he goes, well, I didn't mean that. I didn't, I didn't want to resign. I want my job back well, too late.
Allan Tsang: So guess what he does.? He sues. He files a lawsuit for age discrimination. The problem with that is half the company is people that are about to retire. His boss has no problem working with, uh, old people. Like they are just, it's just a, it is just how it was. So ultimately he failed and he lost, he lost everything.
Allan Tsang: So this is his narrative. His narrative is up in loyal, I'm very knowledgeable, I grill my accounts, my customers love me. The difficult ones are just difficult. They're just, they just don't like me because they're just bad people. They don't understand me. The managers were just getting in his way of doing a great job and he had his way of doing things and they worked fine at one time. 18 years ago. He felt his salary was being taken in order to hire younger people. So he felt mistreated. This is his narrative.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Allan Tsang: So guess what he used? This boss was told by many managers to let this guy go, the boss rescued him and stood behind him and allowed his bad behavior to continue because loyalty was important to his boss.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Allan Tsang: So later, he looked at this boss who was once a rescuer into the persecutor now.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Allan Tsang: He was the victim and therefore he sued them and he became the persecutor. This dynamic is played over and over and over again.
Marcus Cauchi: You see this happen all the time because rescuers, the definition of a rescuer is someone who helps without boundaries or permission. And they tend to be mollycoddling and permissive and they let things ride. Now, the problem with being a rescuing man or the problems with being a rescuing manager, one, you end up having to put out fires all the time. That tends to mean you suffer from a lot of upward delegation. You send a message to the rest of the organization that this kind of behavior will be tolerated and people who are good employees resent it.
Marcus Cauchi: And that can lead to staff turnover, uh, because people get really irritated with it and they just say to hell with this I'm off. But it can also do is it can, uh, build walls and create silos. And a rescuing manager actually, I think is the most divisive of all. They're worse than a persecuting manager, because a persecuting manager, you know, where you stand and generally what a persecuting manager does is, uh, drive down the standard of performance and people do the minimum necessary not to be noticed, whereas a rescuing manager will come along and help without your permission, so they will redo your work. And that creates a diminishment at a level of identity, but it also causes you to say, well, there's no point in me doing this. And that then becomes a per part of the culture and you have to be really careful. And this is one of the reasons why I think it's so important when you are recruiting to look for examples of how managers deal with conflict and uh, difficult employees and difficult people. How sales people deal with conflict and difficult customers.
Marcus Cauchi: Because very often, and I had a, uh, an example a while ago where someone asked me if I knew of anyone who was recruiting. And I asked why, and they came back and they said that they're looking. And my response back was, tell me why aren't you a better salesman? And he said, well, why do you ask? And I said, well, generally people who think they're the finished article, basically our souls. They, if you think you're the finished article, you probably have a sense of you'll have a sense of entitlement. And my intent wasn't to offend him. It was simply to state my position. He came back all offended, but actually it did exactly what the, uh, the question was intended to do, which is to flush out how someone responds, because his response wasn't to look deeper. His response was to take it as a personal affront . Now I apologize, I haven't heard back. I don't suppose I will, but the door is open if he wants to come back.
Does someone in a negotiation or a sales or a management role get to the truth? Do they understand the motive, cause and the intent?
Marcus Cauchi: But what I want to establish early on is does someone in a negotiation or a sales or a management role get to the truth? Do they understand the motive, cause and the intent? And in negotiation, if you don't understand the motive behind your counterparts behavior or why they've requested, or entered into an RFP. If you don't understand the cause that got them there and you don't understand the intent in terms of the outcome, then effectively, what you will probably do is turn up and vomit a lot of product information at them.
Marcus Cauchi: And then you end up in a situation where basically either they buy or don't buy. It, it's not because of anything that you've done and you'll inevitably be stiffed on price.
Allan Tsang: Exactly. You mentioned something that, uh, I, I wanted to point out a little bit and sometimes you can say something and I recently put a post on LinkedIn and you made a, you made a, you made a comment or you made an observation and someone took it as a, a personal affront to probably their identity, their, their behavior, whatever.
Allan Tsang: You may not have that intention. And I think that is a very detrimental behavior for salespeople to have. And one of the things that Dan and I train into our students is curiosity. Whenever you feel that you've been offended is to go straight into curiosity mode. Whereas a lot of people will fall into the narrative trap.
Allan Tsang: Well, someone in the past said this or did this, and therefore Marcus saying this, it's also insulting me or being rude to me or being too aggressive or being too assertive or being too whatever. And therefore , they feel good. They, they wanna take offense to it because by being a victim, the immediate feeling of a victim is actually, it feels good because there is a type of vindication. See?
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Allan Tsang: Marcus is a bad guy. Look at, he has hurt my feelings.
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely.
Allan Tsang: So you are just one of the bad guys out there. And I have recognized you as a bad guy. What has happened is if they're not driven by valid mission and purpose, they are going to lose that relationship with you and lose the help that you could offer them.
Allan Tsang: And the only person that loses in the long term is the person that, that, uh, that took something personal and they act on that narrative. They never, they never went Marcus, what exactly when you said that, what exactly did you mean?
Marcus Cauchi: Exactly. And, uh, again, I I've fallen victim of it. And part, again, there's a, there's a lesson to be learned here. Um, which is whenever you are starting to feel offended or slighted in any way, do not resort to, uh, writing. Email has lost me more good relationships than anything else.
The problem with the written word is it's understood in the voice that it's reading
Marcus Cauchi: Pick up the phone. Asked to have a conversation with them before you fall into misinterpretation. Because the problem with the written word is it's understood in the voice that it's reading. It's not understood in the voice that it was written in. And you do not have the immediate feedback loop. So, if you are ever in a conflict situation and you are spotting that someone else is narrated may not be going in the direction that you need it to, then do everything you can to prevent the conversation descending into email.
Allan Tsang: I have two comments about that. Number one, I have a lot of emails in draft form really long, have never been sent.
Marcus Cauchi: Don't press send.
Allan Tsang: In fact, uh, I have a Google on my Gmail, I have a feature that says you can undo it. And I have used the undo just to recall an email. Just in time before the 30 seconds were up.
Marcus Cauchi: Right.
Allan Tsang: The other thing is, it also depends on the person Marcus. Because knowing you, and having spoken to you a few times and being on your podcast, I consider you as a friend and I like your style. You're very direct. So I don't have to guess where, where things stand between you and me, right?
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Allan Tsang: And sometimes in a written format, they become maybe to some people too direct or maybe maybe aggressive or too assertive.
Allan Tsang: I've been, I've been accused of being too assertive.
Marcus Cauchi: I can't believe that.
Allan Tsang: Dan finds that funny. So, but some people are actually worse off when they speak and you know what I'm talking about. They, they are probably better at writing a letter. And so I think it depends sometimes some people are so abrasive when they talk, they actually escalate the conflict, even though they didn't mean it.
Marcus Cauchi: I think your that's very fair and very right. What I would say is that this is an object lesson in why rehearsal and preparation is so key.
Allan Tsang: That's exactly right. So you have to prepare, you have to think it out before you send a letter or before you even call the person, you have to get your, your mindset right. You have to make sure your intention is right that way, your tone, when, when you speak to that person, has a different tone to it. And that's what you want. You don't have tone and email. But if your tone is rude, when you're speaking to the person, it can make it worse.
Marcus Cauchi: And this is why the, uh, winner's triangle model is a fabulous baseline.
Marcus Cauchi: Remember, vulnerable, that means you put yourself in a position where you may be hurt or wounded and you do it anyway. It is an act of courage. It's where you take ownership. It's where you take responsibility. It's where you express genuine, sincere sorrow, regret for having caused any offense.
Marcus Cauchi: Assertive means that you clearly draw boundary or a line without being aggressive or rude or intentionally offensive or insulting. And nurturing and empathic means that you are keep their identity intact and you don't diminish them in any way, shape or form.
Allan Tsang: I love that.
You might win the battle, but lose the war
Marcus Cauchi: It takes enormous discipline to operate from that space because in this day and age, we wanna do instant response. We're hoping for an instant reply, we wanna win and you've gotta be very careful about the whole concept of winning. You might win the battle, but lose the war. And that's, again, you know, it is known as Pyrrhic victory. King Pyrrhus beat the persons then, uh, he adds, uh, one battle, but depleted himself so badly that all they had to do was just turn up, uh, and walk all over him. So you gotta be really very, very careful and you gotta play the long game.
Marcus Cauchi: And that's something that I'm really very conscious has been missed. In the last 20, 30 years in sales. People are so fixated on this quarter, on getting this deal that they're not thinking long term. And when we prospect in my companies, we prospect for a customer who will be a customer in 5, 10, 15, 20 years.
Marcus Cauchi: And I wanna send the sell to their children and their grandchildren too. Um, I don't wanna spend my time going out and starting my business afresh every month. That's just dumb.
Allan Tsang: We have very similar, uh, uh, philosophies. And that's why, uh, you, you see me write a lot about, we help people build long term agreements that doesn't fall apart easily.
Allan Tsang: You can always lie to someone, cheat someone and have a short term win. And that's why in negotiation, Dan and I are so allergic to other negotiator trainers that say, I will help you win. Just think about it for a minute. If you are someone that is trained by a negotiator that helps you win, and I know about it. Why would I want to negotiate with you? Because I want to lose?
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Allan Tsang: Right? So we don't even think of we talked about, we don't think about winning and losing. We think about, do you get to move your mission and purpose forward? And do I get to move my mission and purpose forward? And that's it. There is no competition.
Allan Tsang: I don't have to win. The only way for it is for you to lose. That said tomorrow, we are supposed to have a conversation. You and me about, uh, the, the, some of those terminology, which I like on your venn diagram. And I think you and I have the same idea of, uh, when you, when you mention win-win, it's an, it's a heuristic of what, what then?
Allan Tsang: And I talk about mutually beneficial agreements that moves our respective mission and purpose forward. But not everybody have that same idea.
You cannot change the behavior of the people in your organization until you change the thinking and culture of the leadership
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely. But a again, I think that, um, a lot of that has been built out of a commercial culture that is being driven by the wrong motives and the causes. Uh, I'm on a mission at the moment, um, because what I'm very, very conscious of, is that you cannot change the behavior of the people in your organization until you change the thinking and culture of the leadership. And that is being driven by short-termism, by investors, by publicly listed companies being driven by the stock market and the people who suffer from that inevitably our customers. But in between what you find is your employees suffer from it as well.
Marcus Cauchi: Because they feel that pressure. They, they are, uh, we see in sales that rise in mental health problems. We see burnout at the sales level and middle management level. Um, because of this inordinate pressure to behave in a way that is counter to people's values.Because we are a social species. We like helping others from within our tribe.
Customers should be part of our tribe, they're not the enemy
Marcus Cauchi: And our customers should be part of our tribe. They're not the enemy. And what's really interesting, I having conversations with a handful of really forward thinking procurement, uh, specialists who look to the long term. They want to create partnerships with their suppliers and it doesn't make sense for them to constantly beat up their suppliers because the supplier will try and find a way to get even, or cut corners.
Marcus Cauchi: And so again, depending on the type of purchase, I, if it's got low financial impact and low supplier risk, then it's a commodity and both sides know where they are. But the problem is that if you don't understand why a purchasing person is buying that product, or service and you don't understand what they're trying to achieve in, on behalf of the business and the line of business managers and this, uh, executive, then chances are, you will miss the big picture.
Marcus Cauchi: And this is where, most sales people and tactical procurement people get it so wrong because they're only thinking about this short term battle. And they're not thinking about the war that you could be winning as allies, uh, against the problems that they're facing.
Allan Tsang: So you said something that is, so this is the last couple minutes is just so key.
We are just trying to build organizations that are essentially good people
Allan Tsang: I would summarize it. We, we are just, we are just trying to build organizations that are essentially good people.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Allan Tsang: It's good people. You want 'em to be good people to care about who they're serving. The problem is, uh, you're probably seeing it is sometimes companies want that and it's multifaceted. It's many different areas, right? So you have organizations that believe in it, but then because they're hiring processes broken, they're bring in sales people that don't embrace that idea. And then they ruin the reputation of the company.
What does good really look like?
Marcus Cauchi: I couldn't agree with you more. One of the things that we are gonna be working on within the community this year is what does good really look like?
Marcus Cauchi: Because what has passed for good in sales for so long has been this alpha. I, when you lose hypercompetitive, competitive, they're not collaborators. What COVID has brought into really sharp focus is the imperative of becoming more collaborative. I look at the growth of the channel in the last 12 months and the channel has thrived.
Why the economy has still kept turning?
Marcus Cauchi: In fact, one of the reasons why the economy has still kept turning is that the channel has stepped up to the plate. And because they have developed long term relationships, uh, with their vendors, with their customer. They've been able to solve problems. Whereas the vendor organizations are so often driven by this short term objective which is to scale and grow at any cost, acquire as many new logos as possible, no matter what price you sell at, grow without profit and grow without strong fundamentals and, um, then work towards a rapid exit.
Marcus Cauchi: And that is being driven by the venture capital and to some extent the private equity community and by the market. That I think is something that we have to stand against. We have to fix that. And the, I think the bright of investors will realize that their aims will be met if only they build strong businesses that make a profit, that have strong fundamentals, that have highly engaged employees, that have customers who stay for life and are loyal and love working with you.
Marcus Cauchi: And you co-develop solutions to help them solve their problems so you stay relevant.
Allan Tsang: I can listen to this all day long. Marcus you know that because you talk, if we are talking of, uh, organizations as individuals, then we are trying to build healthy organizations, as in healthy individuals, right?
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Allan Tsang: And it's healthy mindset, healthy behaviors, things that is, uh, focused on long term, long term thinking, long-term behavior, long-term agreements that doesn't fall apart easily. Short term thinking is gonna have turnover. You're gonna have resentment, you're gonna have a lot of, uh, internal conflict and uh, short term gains tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
Allan Tsang: It would win short term, but they will fall apart. Companies will fall apart very quickly.
Marcus Cauchi: Other negative, is that it's given rise to the psychopaths and sociopaths, uh, to become leaders within businesses. And that again is incredibly dangerous though. If you've not read it, Snakes in Suits by Robert Hare and Paul Babiak talks about how
Allan Tsang: My purchase list.
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely. I mean, on death row, 3% of the prison population are psychopathic. In the US boardroom, 5%. The idea that they have a home there and, uh, it's the, the best place for them to go is terrifying. And you can see the, the fallout. Because businesses that are not set up to serve their customers, serve their people, serve their community, then wreak massive destruction.
Humanity has a habit of going rogue and going bad
Marcus Cauchi: And we are seeing this, uh, you know, in the, uh, levels of pollution. We're seeing this in the levels of abuse of workers' rights. We're seeing it with, um, Ponzi schemes. Humanity has a, a habit of going rogue and going bad. And part of the problem, I think, is the ability to fall into a mania. You know, I've been reading about, um, the South Sea bubble and the Mississippi collapse and, you know, the tulip bubble and so on.
Values are important
Marcus Cauchi: What's really fascinating is just how easily diverted we are as a species. It seems to be down to a large extent to forgetting our core values. I don't wanna sound like I'm being preachy. I probably do. That values really are important.
Allan Tsang: I tell organizations that a lot of organizations I go into and you, you probably see this as they have values, but then when you ask the employees, so what are your, your company's, uh, uh, core values. And they may be able to say one or one, maybe a two, but if they have five or seven, you can forget it. They're already forgotten it. They don't know it, but if the values were important, the question is, did they hire based on those values? Do they fire based on those values? Are they that important? Right? And that's how you can judge, whether in fact those values, uh, what the companies embrace or just sounded good to their customers.
Marcus Cauchi: And again, values are not something you pay lip service to they're things that you live by and you do when no one is looking. And if you don't recruit for values and you don't make decisions through your value filter and you don't fire on the basis of breaking those values, then they're not really values.
Marcus Cauchi: They're just lip service and something you paint on the wall for cosmetic effect.
Allan Tsang: Well, I see sometimes companies violate their own values because of fear or desperation or neediness.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Allan Tsang: They may have a salesperson that is supposedly a rainmaker, but this person is abusive to the customers and the suppliers, or even their internal team. And even though they have maybe respect on, on as a value, they're allowed to behave that way because of the short term gain.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Allan Tsang: And that's a mistake.
Marcus Cauchi: I couldn't agree more. If anyone wants a really fabulous example of sales leadership, operating with genuine application of those values, read The Success Cadence by Tom Schodorf and Bart Fanelli and David Mattson. And the first chapter is all about how they decided on what the values were and they fired the top two sales performance within the business and performance just rocketed as soon as those two people left.
Allan Tsang: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Thank you so much.
Allan Tsang: Same here.
Allan Tsang: Marcus is always fun. Uh, uh, chatting with you on your podcast.
How can people get hold of you?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. How can people get hold of you?
Allan Tsang: Well, the best way is just to connect with me on LinkedIn, send me an invite. And um, if you have interest in what Dan and I do just, uh, hit us up and, and let's chat.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Allan Tsang, thank you.
Allan Tsang: Have a, have a great day, Marcus.
Marcus Cauchi: So if you are the owner or CEO of a tech company in the 10 to 50 million mark, and your goal is to grow your business, achieve genuine and sustainable hyper growth without the wings and wheels falling off, you want highly engaged salespeople, marketing people, customer success folk and account growth teams that are really plugged into what your customers need and want.
Marcus Cauchi: And you've got customers who stay with you for year, after year, after year.
Marcus Cauchi: Then, let's schedule a brief time for a conversation. My email is Marcus laugh, Syphon last.com or direct message me on LinkedIn. And if the topics that we've touched on today around raising the bar, uh, within sales are of interest, look up Sales: A of Force For Good, #saffg or #salesaforceforgood. We're running a number of events on clubhouse, on LinkedIn, on Facebook. We're looking for volunteers to have their voice and to discuss some of these really difficult, challenging issues and to raise the bar in the meantime, stay safe and happy selling.
Marcus Cauchi: Bye-bye.