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The 'away' Perspective: Persuasion Continuum Of Towards And Away

Feb 21, 2008
Before I get into the 'away' perspective in the towards/away continuum, I want to make a distinction between a truly negative personality and a person who is inclined towards moving away from a problem.

There are some people who think, 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.' I am not of that opinion. Putting on a happy face for everything is dishonest, even if it's framed in the positive mental attitude way of turning lemons into lemonade or problems into challenges. I see the value in it, but I also see the value in really indulging in the ups and downs of life, experiencing the lows so that the highs feel so much more intense.

Conversely, I don't like to be around people who constantly complain and view the world through the distorted lens of their inconvenience and misery. That kind of vibration, on a sustained basis, will bring your energy down guaranteed.

To me, whether a person is positive or negative is less important than honesty. However, I'm much more interested in being around people who know that their thoughts are manifesting their reality thus tend to attract positive folks.

Back to the 'towards/away' continuum. . . Like all of these continuums, they are context specific. Someone can be towards when it comes to relationships and away when it comes to finances.

Say you've elicited your client or prospect's highest criteria and it turns out to be security. And you say, 'So ultimately, what will having security do for you?'

Security is tricky because it can be both a towards and away answer. The answer is important because it will determine their direction.

'Security. . .It's going to completely keep me safe. I'm not going to have to worry anymore because I'm just sick and tired of worrying. I don't know what the stock market's going to do and I'm heavily invested in it and I just am tired of worrying.'

Is this person moving towards a solution or away from a problem?

This is definitely an away from answer.

With 'away' people, one of the prongs on the key to persuasion is what I like to call 'backing the ambulance up to the door'. It's like poking at a wound or sticking your tongue at a sore tooth. (Some people actually do that!) It's like rubbernecking at an accident. It's like helping them wallow in that feeling of fear and worry in order to show them the path to . . .in this case, security.

An appropriate away from response would be, 'You bet. Exactly. It's absolutely understandable that you'd feel terrified. The market is a dangerous place right now. People are going to lose fortunes. Having no alternate plan, no parachute, is going to ruin many lives. My clients, however, have moved beyond that fear as they work with me, and are, as a result, safe and secure.'

Determination of towards/away is a really powerful tool enriching rapport immeasurably. Never try to force the away oriented person to see the silver lining or look through rose colored glasses. Go along with them and help them bask in the fear and horror that you can eventually relieve them of.
About the Author
Kenrick Cleveland teaches techniques to earn the business of affluent prospects using persuasion. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion techniques.
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