What’s in their best interest?

I recently started dating somebody new. She’s a fellow athlete, owns her own business and I’m quite excited. Unfortunately, it’s unclear if she’s available for the kind of relationship that I want.

The solution is to want what is best for the other person, even over what you want for yourself. And this is true whether you are selling a product, hiring an employee, or dating someone new!

It is hard to want what’s best for the other person while still advocating for your desired outcomes. Here are some things that can help…

Generate goodwill

I use the example of the Santa in the Miracle on 34th Street to depict the benefits of a well-executed sale.

In the movie, the department store Santa sends eager customers to a different department store because that store has exactly the right product for that customer.

The store manager is furious that Santa is sending people elsewhere – until he sees that customers are returning and buying more, because of the goodwill that Santa has generated.

In business, and in life, positive word of mouth can determine success. When you do the right thing, you’re more likely to succeed.

Don’t be too eager

I first learned to negotiate in the busy marketplaces of Oaxaca, Mexico as a child. I went back to Oaxaca with my family this winter and one thing I wanted to buy was a new leather belt.

I found a local market and one leather seller, who had a wide assortment of beautiful leather goods.

I began the process of negotiating for the belt I liked. The stall purveyor was polite, and completely unattached. When I returned hours or days later, she showed no sign of recognizing me.

She wasn’t pushy, but she had clear boundaries on price. And between the dozens of people passing her stall, she also didn’t have a lot of time to spare for one customer who wasn’t in a hurry to buy.

That stall owner didn’t have my best interest in mind. She wanted to make a sale! But she also wasn’t pushy.

And that freedom gave her a lot of flexibility when it came to making a successful sale.

As a result of her non-urgent attitude, I not only did buy a belt from her – I purchased two. I left satisfied and will refer other people to her in the future.

Maintain clear boundaries

One of the things that I loved about the leather goods seller is that she had clear boundaries. She did not need me to buy but was happy to entertain some amount of bargaining if I showed up in good faith. On an early visit, I proposed a price that was laughably low. She declined and moved on to another customer.

Know where your boundaries lie – the price of what you are selling; the amount of time you’re willing to spend.

It never helps to give more than you are comfortable with in the hope that the other person will come around. When you self-sacrifice, they won’t.

Invite, then leave it alone

Invite towards the outcome you want and then remain unattached to the outcome.

Invite someone on a date or ask them to buy what you are selling. Observe how they respond! And, if they don’t, that tells you everything you need to know.

It is too early yet to say where my new romance will go. But I’m reminded that when I don’t cling to a specific outcome, I’m more likely to get what I want.


What is an outcome that you are attached to?

It could be the specific outcome of a sale, but it might also be something much more personal.

Identify 1-2 real life examples where you are attached to things going a certain way. If you’d like, email me with your examples!

Then, practice, just for a minute, asking “What’s best for the other person?”

That simple question, asked with curiosity and not with a sense that you know better, will likely make things easier.

Until next week,

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