The Silent Scissors

Getting what you want from someone - in negotiations, or out of someone - when you’re managing them, is all about using your silent scissors.

I’ve never called up an athlete to ask for something without first knowing what that person needed himself.

One time I needed Hank Aaron to tape a couple of internal promotional videos for an automotive company - we wanted him to record a couple of messages motivating the salespeople.

The first time I asked him, Hank rejected the idea outright.

So then I called his secretary and from her, I found out that Hank was working on his house, and he was having a hard time getting a certain lawnmower he needed.

I figured out a way to get the lawnmower to him very quickly, and I called Hank again. And before I brought up the motivational video I needed, I said, “I have a way for you to get that lawnmower.”

Now Hank was interested in helping me get what I wanted, because he knew it would help him get what he wanted.

I did something similar with Amare Stoudemire several years ago. I needed him to sign a bunch of items for me, and I knew that Amare was too busy to do all his Christmas shopping.

So I called him and, before mentioning the signing I needed, I told Amare I would help obtain some of the gifts or charity items he needed to get for the holiday season.

After that, signing a bunch of items for me seemed well worth his time to him.

The ultimate motivator is self-interest. People will go along with you, and help you get what you need, if they feel they’re helping themselves at the same time - and that’s where you have to start with them.

You have to open them up with your silent scissors, find their particular buttons, and start pushing them.

So that before they realize it, they’re working for you, and they barely noticed how that came to be.

Who do you need on board with you for your next important project? What’s their personal make-or-break?

Can you expose that button with your silent scissors?


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