Winning Through Intimidation was a popular book back in the 1970ís that still holds some valuable lessons for us today.
Some people are turned off by the title. I was. I donít really want to intimidate anybody or push anyone around. Unfortunately, in business we must face the reality that the environment is closer to a jungle than a playground. People we are dealing with will use intimidation to exploit us, if for no other reason than to promote their own interests.
Ringer teaches us, giving true examples from his own experience, how to recognize when others are trying to intimidate us and how to protect ourselves.
Ringer sets the stage by exploding the myths that "working long, hard hours" and "having a positive mental attitude" will insure success. He concludes that working long, hard hours will just make you old and that itís practically impossible to keep a positive mental attitude when you are constantly getting kicked in the teeth!
For a salesperson, Ringer suggests the only way to maintain a positive mental attitude is to realistically assume you wonít make the sale (vs. canít make the sale.) In other words, be prepared to make the sale if it possibly can be made, but assume it wonít.
What is important is getting results. Like in the fable of the tortoise and the hare, only where you are when the race is over counts.
According to Ringer, unless a person will benefit directly from your earning and receiving income, there are three types of people that you deal with in business: 1) The person who lets you know from the outset that heís out to "get all your chips," and follows through; 2) The person who assures you heís not interested in "getting your chips" and wants you to be fairly compensated, then tries to get them anyway; 3) The person who also assures you that heís not interested in "getting your chips" and sincerely means it, but for some reason still ends up trying to grab them.
To protect your interests, you need to learn to recognize what type of person you are dealing with and prepare to protect yourself.
Itís a mistake to focus on the close as the completion of a transaction. The transaction isnít successfully complete until you are paid. In order to ensure he was paid, Ringer learned procedures to protect himself, including getting signed contracts, using certified mail for correspondence, getting the proper real estate licenses in the states where he was brokering real estate transactions, and getting his own attorney to represent him at the closing.
Another important lesson of Ringer is the Leapfrog Theory. He explodes the myth that the way to success is to "work your way up through the ranks." This is a waste of time perpetuated to protect the position of your competitors! Instead, leapfrog over the pack by proclaiming your own expertise. The catch is you must actually be prepared to live up to your status as expert. As long as you have the knowledge, no one can stop you from publicizing the fact. (You may have some licensing requirements to meet in some professions. Most of the old anti-competitive restrictions within the professions, such as for accountants and lawyers, are fading away.)
Winning Through Intimidation is practical, reality-based information that should be required reading for any entrepreneur or salesperson, and mandatory reading for anyone in commercial real estate. Be sure to include it on your business reading list.
For our new reviews of business and self-improvement books, subscribe to our newsletter, Michael Gray, CPA's Tax & Business Insight!