This comes up a lot in our job during plea negotiations, trial work, and other communications.
"If only I knew what they were thinking, then I could say and do the right things to change their mind."
If you have found yourself thinking this way (who hasn't), it means you care on some level.
Advertisement/marketing is all about trying to get in the head of consumers to appeal to them.
Most sales jobs are the same way, too. Salesmen are trying to find some sort of common ground to sway your way of thinking, if even for a very short period of time.
What if I were to tell you that there is another way to get your message across that is less dependent on what someone else was thinking?
The Better, Day To Day Approach
At the end of the day, good ideas are great, but what people really care about is people.
Here is a quick illustration.
Joe has a solid idea that could benefit his community. However, he needs a $100,000 loan to get things started.
Joe is lucky enough to know about a local, small investment group that invests in small startups. Joe thinks, "This is perfect."
Joe gets a meeting with the investment group. During this meeting, he lays out the numbers and shows quite convincingly why the business will profit.
Then, one investor asks the following question, "Tell us about you. What is your story and why do you want this?"
Joe wasn't prepared for this and draws a blank. He mumbles more stuff about why the business will profit.
Joe does not get the loan from the small investment group.
The Lesson With Joe
Whether a person will succeed comes down to more than numbers. Looking at the numbers and seeing that they make sense is one element, but what may be more important is the person you are investing in.
I have bragged about my wife a couple of times on here, and I am about to do it again. You have been forewarned.
My wife has all the characteristics of an amazing entrepreneur.
She isn't scared to start something new, she does not have a lazy bone in her body, she has healthy habits, and she has an unusual ability to focus on a single task until it is completed.
Due to these characteristics, I have told her, "You could come to me with the craziest business plan in the world, and I would still support it because it would be you starting it."
Oh, and yesterday marked our 4-year wedding anniversary by the way :).
So, what is the better, day-to-day approach to use going forward? Try this:
Do not worry about trying to get in the head of others. Develop good, personal habits and clearly demonstrate to others why you believe in your mission (whatever that is).
Our goal should not be to convince others we are right, it should be to convince them we believe what we are saying and believe in ourselves.
This approach may seem disingenuous at first, but it will become less so over time. Some people call this tactic, "Sell yourself, not your product/business/idea."
If you have a business idea that you believe you could be successful at, the first step is convincing others that you actually believe that. Once other people start to see that you believe what you are saying, things will begin to change.
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