In this month’s article, we’re going to talk about setting the stage. If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know that I am a big Jeffrey Gitomer fanboy, and have always loved his fresh, real-world approach to sales.

However, Jeffrey Gitomer didn’t write my favorite sales book of all time. My favorite sales book of all time was written by Chet Holmes, and it’s called The Ultimate Sales Machine. In this week’s post, we’re going to talk about what Chet calls in his book, the Threshold Effect, or what I like to call setting the stage.

The Threshold Effect as described by Chet Holmes means that whenever you walk into a space yourself or someone walks into your space, you or they are making 11 different assumptions about the space you and they are in, about each other, what kind of car you or they drive, are you or they likable, are you or they dateable (is that even a word?), would you do business with them or would they do business with you…you know, all these things we think about and talk about in our own heads. What does that matter you say? In the threshold effect (and in everyday life like it or not), people are judging. You have to set the stage and stack the deck in your favor.

How do you do that?

You do that by preparing mentally, emotionally and physically. I’ll outline the steps below of ways you can set the stage and truly stack the deck in your favor.

  1.  Mentally. How do you prepare mentally? Clear your mind of all of the distractions. Clear your mind of everything going on, from a fight with your significant other, soccer practice for the kids, that big deadline, and focus on just BEING there with them, listening with all of your senses to what they are saying and not saying.  
  2. Emotionally. How do you prepare emotionally? Your attitude must be Sum Tertius, which is Latin for I am third. If you always put your client’s needs ahead of your own, you’ll win way more often than not. Keep this one thought in your head. How can I serve them better than anyone else?
  3. Physically. How do you prepare physically? Obviously you want to dress, look and be the part. In regards to dress, I recommend dressing a half a step above your typical clientele. It’s also important to get there early for your meeting if you can. By being the first in the space, it allows you to sit where your client sits and see what they see. Is there dust on a chair rail? Can you have a conversation with your server in advance if you are in a public setting like a coffeehouse or restaurant and prep them about your meeting in regards to order? Are you near anything that may distract the person you’re meeting with that will take their attention off of the matter at hand? These are all things to consider when thinking of the threshold effect and when you are setting the stage.

I hope these steps will help you to put your best foot forward the next time you have a meeting so you are prepared for the Threshold Effect and are truly setting the stage for yourself in the most positive manner, stacking the deck in your favor.

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