Super Agent

The Heroic Myth

In an interview with strategy + business, author and professor Betty Sue Flowers talks about five common myths that influence human decision making. One of them is called the heroic myth, and it’s based on the idea that in every situation there is a winner and a loser, a David and Goliath. Have you seen this myth played out in sales situations?

Sales Source writer Geoffrey James says that selling “becomes difficult (or even impossible) when one or both parties view the negotiation as a conflict between two positions, where the person who abandons his position is the ‘loser’ and the person who sticks to his position is the ‘winner’.”

Here’s an example scenario:  A prospect doesn’t seem interested in engaging in a conversation with a producer unless they can push him to offer them a low price. In an effort to avoid losing the sale, the producer thinks, “I’ve got this shiny new product to show you”, and abandon’s his process. In the prospect’s mind, if the producer gives them a low price, they win. In the producer’s mind, if he doesn’t lose the sale, he wins.

What’s the matter with this picture? Everyone actually loses.

Instead of delivering true business value, the producer has diminished his role. And, the prospect is put at greater risk because of it. Don’t get caught up in the heroic myth. Your process is what differentiates you—stick to it, and you will be viewed as a business ally who helps employers improve outcomes. And, don’t be afraid to walk away from a prospect who (after engaging in dialog with you to uncover risks and threats) still doesn’t recognize that the bid-and-quote approach doesn’t serve their best interests either.

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