Shift the View

What I’m about to tell you may or may not be true.

I think it’s true, but I respect that I could be alone on this. So, let’s make a deal.

If you’re willing to set aside any skepticism for just a moment, I promise to not try and change your mind.


Ok, here it is:

You’ve never changed anyone’s mind on anything.

It’s not because of any failing on your part. It’s just that it’s not possible to change someone else’s mind. You may have said or done something that gave the cause-and-effect appearance of changing someone’s mind. But you didn’t actually change their mind; they did.

This isn’t simply conceptual semantics for the sake of argument. It’s a powerful shift in view that I’ve found to be valuable.

How so?

It takes the pressure off you.

Consider, in traditional sales it’s put upon the salesperson to try and overcome objections then convince and win the customer into a sale.

That’s a lot of stress. If the sale falls through then it’s a failure on the part of the salesperson. Ouch.

Knowing that you can’t change someone’s mind, what if your job is to only provide as much information and guidance as possible to furnish the customer with what they need to decide? If the customer doesn’t buy, then no sweat. You didn’t fail. They simply chose not to buy from you.

Now, don’t mishear me. I’m not saying you can take a blasé attitude towards sales. Every salesperson has a responsibility to do their best to be helpful and informative. Falling short of that is not acceptable.

But you can’t change people’s minds. And so sometimes there’s nothing you could have said or done differently. That person was never going to be your customer.

See how low pressure that is?

– Zac Smith, VC