When Clients Dismiss Your Advice
When’s the last time someone hired you for your expertise only to completely dismiss everything you suggested? Maybe you assumed the client was being stubborn or maybe you thought to yourself, “What a jerk.”
We’ve all been around people that no matter what we say, the other person tends to take the opposing view. Some of these people live with us. 😊
It’s as if they just want to disagree with us for the sake of disagreeing.
Here are just a few examples:
I say/He says:
We Should/We Shouldn’t
and the list goes on and on…
Anyone, in particular, come to mind as you consider interactions you’ve had recently?
We all have what’s known as a “polarity response.” A polarity response is when you mismatch or take an opposing view to the other person.
Certain people or situations tend to trigger our polarity response. For some of us, we have a mild polarity response in most situations and for other people, their polarity response has become a go-to personality trait. More often than not, they contradict or take an opposing stance in most conversations.
Polarity Responses was something I learned about many years ago while studying Neuro-Linguistic Programming. It was a light-bulb-moment on how to communicate with one of my largest customers at the time. He had a strong polarity response in just about all of his conversations. This was why he often disregarded my suggestions or solutions. It was time to try something new in order to build a strong and open communicative relationship with him.
Once I became aware of his style, I was able to change up the way I positioned ideas to him. It was shocking the first time I had a conversation with him applying these new communication techniques. We had a productive meeting and it resulted in a huge win for both of our companies.
Regularly when my clients are struggling with a particular client who is being quite dismissive of their ideas, I end up coaching them on how to change up their language so as not to trigger the person’s polarity response. The results are often quite surprising to my clients on how quickly the conversation gets better.
Shifting Your Style
Learning to tweak the way you phrase things makes a huge impact. It certainly did with my largest customer and I have used this technique over and over again throughout my career and now in my own coaching.
Ultimately is about communicating in a way that makes it easy for the other person to be open to hearing what you have to say. When you phrase things in a way as to not trigger the polarity response, the other person is more likely to consider your suggestion. The reason most of us do what we do is because we know we’re able to help people make big changes/improvements to their lives. That means sometimes having to adjust your own style in order to support your clients getting a solution.
An Example Of How To Change Your Phrasing
For example, when dealing with a client who appears to have a high polarity response, instead of saying,
“This would be the option I would recommend for you…”
Say, “I’m not sure if this is an option you would consider…”
The natural polarity response to that statement is,
“Oh, yes I will consider that option… “
Perfect, now the client is considering the option you recommend to solve their problem/meet their needs.
Please note, this isn’t about forcing a client into something they don’t want/need. It’s a way to allow the person to be open to the help they say they want. This allows them to come to their own conclusion. The client is the “expert” of what makes the most sense for them.
In case you’d like more examples and a deeper dive into Polarity Response, this topic is covered in the upcoming Master Class (minis): The Language Of Sales. You’re invited to take part in this course as it will be a game-changer in the way you communicate with your clients.
When what you’re doing isn’t working when communicating with another person, it’s time to try something different. Learning how to not trigger polarity responses may that one tool you’re lacking in your tool kit to being a more effective communicator.
Wishing you continued success in all of your conversations.