Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

Are you sticking your ‘or’ in?

Or – It’s an innocent little word, on the face of it…..

Yesterday, my son was about to start vacuuming our living room. I was concerned that the dustbag might be full so asked him “Shall we check the bag or do you think it’s all right”? Given he just wanted to get on with it, he said “I’m sure its fine” and carried on.

I had disempowered myself.

Had I simply made my suggestion and not continued with the “or”, there would have been much more chance the bag will have been checked.

So, what’s the big deal here? The point is that we can so often not get our needs met by inadvertently using that little word. As a teenager, I may have wanted to go out with a girl I took a fancy to:

“Would you like to go out for a drink OR are you doing something else?”

Interestingly, salespeople – seemingly very positive types – often fall into this trap. Time after time, on courses I see how they can talk themselves out of a sale by using this “innocent” little word.

“Shall we go ahead then Mr Gotabigbudgettospend OR would you like to think about it / shall I give you a call next week / would you like to explore other options”?

During my own sales career, I identified this as a trap I’d fall into time and again, fuelled by my own insecurity. Eventually, I wrote the word “OR” in big letters on a sheet of A4 and put a big cross over it. I stuck it on the wall in front of me (my desk had a great view!) and trained myself out of scuppering things in this way.

When working with salespeople, I share a very simple three step process around asking for business:

  1. ASK  2. SHUT UP  3. STAY SHUT UP (ASS).

“Shall we go ahead then Mr Bigbudgettospend…….” Silence.

And the silence has massive power. I’m not sticking my ‘or’ in.

It seems that, whilst I seem to have it cracked In my professional life, I’ve yet to eliminate its use at home. I’m off now, the vacuum bag needs checking.



One Response to “Are you sticking your ‘or’ in?”

  1. On the other hand, the alternative close is very powerful. “So do you want the blue one, OR would the pink one be better – matches your eyes!” By making the second alternative more appealing, and adding a benefit to it, you increase the chances of a sale. You’re effectively saying “Do you want to buy … OR would you rather buy?”

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