As Donald Trump fast appears to be discovering, there is often a chasm between wanting to do something and actually making it happen – even when you’re President of the United States of America. While not everyone likes his politics, we can certainly share his pain: how often have we, too, set out to accomplish something only to see the result we’d hoped for disappear before our very eyes?
Failing to seal the deal is agonisingly commonplace.
While the reasons why things don’t pan out exactly as we want them to are frequently beyond our control, equally as often we only really have ourselves to blame. Lack of conviction, wishy-washy language and sending out all the wrong messages can derail a deal at the last minute.
Luckily, these are things we can fix. We asked five experts to tell us how…
Seal the deal… in dating
“We’re all scared of rejection in life, although some of us let this fear hold us back more than others,” says Rachel MacLynn, a chartered psychologist and founder of Vida Consultancy, an international award-winning matchmaking agency (www.thevidaconsultancy.com). “But think about what actually happens when someone says ‘no’. Our ego gets a little dented, we might feel a bit embarrassed. Is it really that bad? Provided we handle the situation with grace and confidence then we can avoid ever losing face over someone saying, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.”
The first lesson if you want more dates, then, is to toughen up a bit. Rejection will help you to be more resilient and will make you realise that the entire world hasn’t, in fact, stopped to laugh at you.
Once you’ve accepted this, it’s time to work on your game-plan.
“Don’t say the word ‘date’ if you’re nervous about someone rejecting you,” says MacLynn. “Offering to ‘take someone for a drink’ is a good way to show interest and get to know them one-on-one without having to put a label on it.”
Also, she says, be specific about the plans. So rather than saying “would you like to go out sometime?”, give the person a clearer idea of what you have in mind, such as “Have you tried the drinks at the reopened Red Lion at the Metropolitan Hotel? I’ll take you there one evening next week, if you’re free. You’ll love them!”
Before rushing in with your seal-the-deal line, however, it’s worth remembering that psychologists think that over 90 per cent of communication is non-verbal. “Yes, your words are important,” says MacLynn, “but don’t over-think it. There’s no point coming out with a string of eloquently thought-through words if you’re shaking with nerves and mumbling.”
She suggests that some simple “influencing techniques” are worth a try when trying to be persuasive:
1/ Start a sentence that you want your prospective date to accept as fact by using words such as: “obviously”, “clearly” or “everybody knows”. For example: “Everybody knows that the best relationships start being asked out in person rather than through a dating app,” or “obviously, we’d have a fun night out if we went for cocktails at Asia Asia”.
2/ Draw their attention to a thought you want them to agree with, such as: “You and I clearly get on; let’s go for a drink this weekend,” or “I’m sure you’re beginning to see we have a connection”.
3/ Turn your invitation into a polite command rather than a question. For example, “let’s go for a drink” is harder to resist than “would you like to go for a drink?”, which is easy to answer with a “no”.
4/ Finally, says MacLynn, just before asking the person out, pose a series of questions that you know will be answered with “yes”, such as “do you enjoy cocktail bars?”. This, she says, puts the person into a positive frame of mind and will subconsciously lead them to want to answer “yes” when you suggest meeting up sometime.
Seal the deal… in an interview
“You seal the deal at a job interview by creating trust,” says Kamran Tork, a certified executive coach based in Dubai (kamrantork.com). “And the way to create trust is to have a clear strategy for the interview.”
Tork doesn’t have any Jedi mind-tricks to bamboozle the interviewer, sadly, but he says these aren’t necessary if you believe in yourself, understand the job opening and are sure that you are the right person for the role.
“When I ask clients ‘What is your interview strategy’, most don’t have one,” he says. “They have typically read up on the company, but that’s it. My advice is to first go ‘inward’ to find out your most important needs – your motivators and values – as well as your unique gifts and skills.”
Tork says that once you have a more comprehensive idea of what you stand for and what makes you special, try perfecting talking about this during networking conversations and on less important job openings. “By unearthing our unique gifts and then matching it with roles that use more of these skills we are putting ourselves in our sweet spot and have a competitive advantage,” he says.
To further tip the balance in your favour, Tork recommends that during the interview you share examples and stories about how you have made a difference that is relevant to the role. “Have specific accomplishment stories to hand,” he says.
After the interview has finished, American website Recruiter.com recommends sending a note to the person who interviewed you. In this missive you thank them for their time – and then bring up something important from the interview that you can follow up on, such as: “I was thinking about what you said about finding it hard to get repeat buyers and I thought that one strategy might be to initiate a direct marketing campaign” (or similar).
If you can then explain how you successfully did this at a previous company, then even better.
This probably doesn’t work if it’s something that you were specifically grilled about during the interview (and that you failed to give a good answer to); it works best when it looks like you’re going the extra mile to help them with something they mentioned.
Seal the deal… in real estate
After months of searching you finally find the perfect ocean-view apartment or quiet little villa – but how do you make sure you get it? Mark Homer, co-founder of property investment experts Progressive Property (progressiveproperty.co.uk), has bought and sold more than 700 apartments, homes and business premises. He says it’s all about finding out what is important to the seller.
“Is it speed?” he says. “Or do they need a flexible sales process whereby legal completion can be delayed until they find another home?”
Once you’ve worked out what they need, he says, try and build a deal giving them as many of the things that they want as you can. “Sometimes price isn’t their main concern,” he says, “which means you may end up with a cheaper property if you serve their other needs.”
To put yourself in a strong position, Homer says it’s essential to have your house in order – no pun intended. “Buyers often bid on properties when they don’t have their finances sorted and this information frequently becomes obvious to the seller,” he says. “The seller will probably therefore become less interested in doing a deal with that buyer as they expect there is a higher likelihood of the deal falling through.”
He says that spending time getting a mortgage decision before bidding or getting a bank statement which can be given to the agent to show that the cash is there to do the deal will underpin the bid.
One final thought: “The agent usually sells the deal to the seller,” says Homer, “so, the buyer needs to sell themselves to the agent. The best way to do this is to create the perception that you are very communicative, organised and reliable. Getting back to the agent quickly and doing what you say – such as turning up on time – are good indicators.”
Seal the deal… in the mall
The art of haggling is one that some people find easy to master. For the rest of us, getting five dirhams off a new Toyota would be an achievement. Money-saving internet sensation Miss Thrifty (miss-thrifty.co.uk) says on her website that the main things you need when trying to get a deal are front and persistence. “If you’re shy or coy you’ll get nowhere,” she writes.
She suggests that there are better ways to approach haggling rather than just begging for a discount, including asking if there would be a special price if you bought more than one item, or mentioning that you’ve seen the product cheaper online.
Travel expert Rick Steves (ricksteves.com) suggests that when buying overseas or at an unfamiliar market, you should try loitering to see what locals pay – this being a fair reflection of the “true” price. He also recommends having a bored or penny-pinching “wingman” to tug you away, thus threatening to jeopardise the deal.
Respected British consumer magazine Which?, meanwhile, points out that being friendly and polite normally works better than being aggressive. It’s also OK to show interest in the product – let the salesman know that you’re a genuine buyer. In an interview with a former salesman, Which?’s journalist is told in no uncertain terms that the notion that buyers need to be nonchalant and hide their interest is actually nonsense.
Seal the deal… in business
“In Dubai, sales are run in a very different way than in the UK or US,” says UAE-based Gareth Jones of Aspen Woolf (aspenwoolf.co.uk), leaders in providing wealth building opportunities for investors through property, who now have a Dubai office. “Here, it’s old-school face-to-face business, handshakes and coffee. Even how you hand over your business card will all make the difference.”
Jones says that right way to hand over your business card is by using two hands. “It’s more respectful,” he says, “and you should consider having your business card in both English and Arabic – one language per side.”
A client, he says, will typically buy from a person/company that has demonstrated that they can offer an extensive service, and who understand the local business customs inside out. “Keeping yourself up-to-date, being professional and doing what you say you’ll do as well as going above and beyond expectations will impress clients,” he says.
Finally, to keep the odds in your favour as you approach the final handshake, Forbes contributor Brent Beshore says that it’s essential to have worked out the other party’s motivations – because they’re not always financial. He says they could include fame/prestige, personal beliefs, employee well-being and a whole host of other things. The final step is simply to work out how best to offer the other party a deal that will be appealing to them.