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How to Get Leverage

A few weeks ago I sent a newsletter to my subscribers about how to be compelling, how to help your dream client take action now. The gist of that newsletter was that in order to know how to compel your dream client you need to know what is already compelling them. I also wrote that it’s about the implications of not changing.

Here’s a link to a YouTube video to accompany this post (you might want to subscribe when you get there).

But I found a better word to describe what we are looking for: leverage.

What Is Leverage?

Leverage (noun): 1) the action of a lever, a rigid bar that pivots about one point and used to move an object at a second point by force applied at a third 2) power or ability to act or influence people, events, decisions, etc.

You might believe that the second definition is more interesting than the first, but it’s the first definition that interests me. I like the visual of using a lever to pivot around point one and move the object at point two by applying force at the third point.

So what is the third point? The third point is the person or persons who stand to gain the most from your initiative (or lose the most by not acting). What is the force you apply to that lever? Whatever is at stake.

The third point, those stakeholders who would move forward with you if they could, need help with the object at the second point. Maybe that object is the status quo and its deeply entrenched defenders. Maybe the second point is occupied by the “decision-maker” or the person with the formal authority to bind the organization to a deal. Whatever–or whoever–is sitting at point two needs to move, and the greater the resistance the more leverage you need, the more you need to surround them with people who will press for your initiative and reasons to change now.

Implications Create Leverage

Weak implications or weak outcomes provide too little leverage to move heavy resistance. The greater the implications and the greater the outcome for your dream client, the more leverage you have, good or bad (even better to use both forms of leverage if you can).

If your dream client tells you that they could buy from you as easily in June as they could in October, you have to find the leverage to move that date forward. You need to help them see what they lose over those four months.

What does it cost them to wait? Does it cost them increased expenses, lost revenue, or lost profits? Do they provide their competitors a chance to steal market share while they wait? Do they lose the time they need to gain the new competencies that are going to allow them to do something they cannot do now? This is your negative force lever.

What do they gain by acting now? Do they realize an immediate financial improvement? Do they gain some strategic advantage? What do they receive for moving the date forward? That’s your positive force lever.

Different stakeholders may be compelled by different levers, so it pays to know your audience.

Think about some stalled commitment you need? What is the leverage you need to use in order to move your contact off the fence? How do you apply the force necessary to the stakeholders at point three to help you move the heavy object on the other end of the lever?


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