Staying to the Left of the Sales Pendulum

Staying to the Left of the Sales Pendulum

If you’re desperate to make something happen, and you try to control events and people, you push away the people you want to influence and you prevent the desired outcome.

 I’ve written about the Paradoxical Intent and anti-suggestions before, explaining if you try to “tie-down” a buyer, you will not gain agreement. You will create resistance.

A pendulum is a good analogy that helps visualize why.

The person we are trying to influence is the pendulum, and they can swing all the way to the right and agree with us. Or they can swing left and disagree.

We might try to move them to the right, towards agreement, by applying force.

When you remove the force, the pendulum swings left toward disagreement.

People are not pendulums, but the intuitive way we try to convince is like pulling the pendulum to the right. We try to talk someone into agreement.

When you do, the buyer feels that you are trying to limit their liberty, so they resist.

Like the pendulum, they swing left towards disagreement.


The inverse is also true. The anti-suggestion is the opposite of the “tie-down” and has the opposite effect.

If I say, “Perhaps doing nothing is your best option?” I am pulling the pendulum left.

Since reactance works in both directions, the person I am trying to influence is likely to swing right, toward agreement.

The person replies, “Well, I think we need to do something because…’

If you gracefully offer to exit, more often than not, they keep you engaged. This creates a role-reversal. The buyer is convincing the seller.

It Always Works, One Way or Another

If you listen to hours of call recordings, you will find that:

  • When sellers pull right, buyers swing left most of the time.
  • When sellers pull left, buyers swing right often.

However, they don’t always.

Sometimes you say, “The cost associated with your current approach appears to be minimal. Is that how you see it?”

And they say, “Yes.”

You pulled left and they agreed.

Does that mean it didn’t “work?”

Pulling left doesn’t always create a role-reversal.

It does, however, reveal the truth of their current perception.

Beliefs Drive Behavior

If your current belief is that selling is convincing, then you will pull right and create a stream of stalls and objections that a generic, premature presentation inevitably creates.

You will always be ahead of the buyer in their process of reaching a decision. If you conclude they need you before they do, you morph into a stereotypical, high-pressure salesperson.

If you believe the buyer must come to their own conclusion and you are just there to facilitate, then you will pull left and allow them the freedom to convince themselves.

By staying to the left of the sales pendulum, and never getting ahead of the buyer, you’ll be seen as a trustworthy source of insight and advice.

Need more tools to help your sales strategy more effective? Contact Steve Kraner at (703) 966-0192.

Always Stay Left, or Behind, the Sales Pendulum.