A Parent’s Guide to Pacing and Leading

I’ve got a lot to cover today and I’m going to jump around a bit, so just stay with me here. This is a long post.

First, a thank you to Kamil in Poland, for your comment on last week’s blog post. You made an important point—that you’re not a salesperson, but you do have goals just the same and you want to achieve them.

I’ve said this before, and it’s worth repeating: the Straight Line Persuasion System is for everybody, not just salespeople, because persuasion is a necessary life skill. Since you have goals, then you must have a higher vision for your future. To attain that vision, you must master persuasion skills, because no one can achieve success on their own.

I’m glad my blog posts are a source of inspiration for you, Kamil, and for a lot of other people. When you’re ready to move to a higher level, when you decide average isn’t good enough for you, I hope you’ll invest in the Straight Line Persuasion System.

Now, because not everyone is a salesperson, I’m going to shift the focus of my blog today to something a little more universal: parenting. I’m going to share a personal story of how the Straight Line Persuasion System can help everybody be a better parent. So we’re not talking about lofty visions and goals right now. This is about helping your child cope with negative emotions and dealing with the challenges that come up in the world. If you’ve been through the Straight Line, you know about the ducks and the eagles.

Before I get to that story though, let me also thank Judy, for being here on my blog and on my Facebook page just about every day, all year long. Judy, you know first hand the transformational power of the Straight Line Persuasion System and from your comments I can see that you’re now going from success to success. So kudos also, thank you for sharing and keep at it. You’re an inspiration to everyone here.

Okay, one more. Here’s a question that was asked a few days ago on Facebook, but I’m answering it here because it’s a great question and I want to make sure everyone has a chance to see it along with my answer:

From: Kevin: “Hey Jordan. I want to get into inside sales with no experience. What do you think the best field would be? I bought SLP and love the info and really want to try it out. Just need a little direction.”

Okay, two considerations, Kevin.

1) You’ve got to have some experience in something. So it comes down to a question of: what do you know and what are you willing to learn? As an example, if you have an eye for detail and a sense of aesthetics, your career path could be as diverse as selling limited edition artwork or home remodelling. If you’re a car guy you could sell cars or car parts. If you obsess over the engineering details, you might consider a performance brand over something more bread and butter.

So half the answer to your question will come from your personal background, experiences and tastes. Since the best sales people truly believe in the product they’re selling, it might make sense to begin with something you’re at least familiar with, if not passionate about.

2) How much can you earn, versus the time and effort you need to put into your sales career? When I was a kid, the Fuller Brush man used to make his rounds in the neighborhood. He’d go door-to-door, lugging around this huge suitcase filled with sample brushes. That to me, was a tough gig.

I suggest you look at weighing a number of variables: The grosses, commission and bonus structures, sales frequency, repeat sales frequency, upsell and add-on potential, and ultimately, the lifetime value of the customer. Like any investment, in this case your time and effort, you want to realize the greatest possible return.

Getting the Straight Line Persuasion System is definitely the way to success in sales. Congratulations on making a wise choice. Now do more than just try it out. Make it work for you.

A Parenting Story

Now, we’re going back in time, probably five or six years. My son, a great soccer player, comes home from practice one day and he’s absolutely livid because some kid was ball hogging on the field. He’s downstairs with Anne and she comes up a few minutes later and says, “Carter, he’s so mad he’s spittin’ nails down there.”

So I walked downstairs and yeah, Carter is pacing back and forth, his body’s all tense, and he looks like he’s ready to pop a cork. So I say, “What’s up?” And the cork pops!

He screams out (loud enough to rattle the windows), “I am so pissed off! This kid better—”

Mirroring his exact tonality and body language, but kicking them up a notch or two, I interrupt my son with:

“Oh I know! I hate that kid! He’s the biggest jerk in the world. Tell me what happened!’ followed by an equally emotional, “That’s it! I’m gonna go speak to his parents! I am really, really pissed!”

My son chimes in, “Yeah, me too!”

And from me, one more for good measure, “Yeah, it really sucks!”

What’s all this about?

Well, if you think I’m encouraging my son, nothing could be further from the truth. I’m actually using a technique called pacing. I’m meeting my son where he is (state of anger), agreeing with him, and moving at his pace, mirroring his tonality and body language. A good metaphor would be the pace car at the Indianapolis 500.

The pace car leads dozens of 700 horsepower race cars, capable of 235 miles per hour, for one lap around the track, holding them in check at around 70 mph. Then the pace car exits the track and the race begins. In much the same way, I held my son’s anger in check, giving him nowhere to go.

Next, I took the lead and began to lower my voice. I slowed my words way down until I was talking at a normal level. He followed me. I had to meet him (pace him) at his level (anger) in order to lead him down to my level (calm). Makes sense so far?

If I had walked into that room and said to my son, “Carter, calm down, calm down,” how do you think he would have reacted? He would have resisted. Let me explain with another metaphor—from your typical disaster movie.

So there’s this runaway train, okay? And obviously, no one’s in control. Disaster’s right around the corner too, because the train is loaded with explosives and headed for an oil depot right smack in the middle of town.

Then the hero comes along, riding a horse, or the back of a pick-up truck, or heck, another train. Right? He comes up alongside the runaway train, paces it—going the same speed, makes a few hair-raising attempts to jump the divide, before he finally leaps and grabs ahold of some tiny appendage like a railing or a door hinge. And he scrambles into the cab and pulls the brake handle, mere seconds before the whole town goes BOOM!

Now what would have happened if our hero stood on the tracks, held up his hand and yelled, “STOP!” at the training bearing down on him at 80 mph? SMACK! He’d be the train’s new hood ornament. What I’m saying is that “calm down” has that little effect on an angry teenager.

Does pacing and leading always make sense? It makes sense when you’re dealing with a family member you know intimately, but it’s not for every situation. If the guy next to you on the freeway decides to go road rage on you, I wouldn’t suggest playing bumper cars with him. Disengagement would be the wise thing to do in that situation.

But for your children, pacing and leading works really well. It allows you to maintain rapport, by showing agreement with your child in both tonality and body language. In other words, you’re angry about the same thing. You’re in agreement. When you tell your child to “calm down” you’re not in agreement. There is no rapport. There’s only resistance.

Once you have that rapport, that agreement, then you can take control of the situation and allow your child to then show agreement with you, in tonality and body language, as you slow your pace down to the calm you want to achieve.

Find solutions to many of life’s challenges inside every Module of the Straight Line Persuasion System.

I wish you the best!