You can’t force the customer to buy into you. On today’s episode of Hard Truths, Dave Anderson explains why you can’t command commitment from the customer, you have to earn it.
You can find more episodes of Hard Truths right here on ASBN.
Dave Anderson: Hi, welcome to Hard Truths with Dave Anderson. The show where we talk about the things that need to be talked about, but people don’t always want to talk about because of all the sensitivity and political correctness. What I want to talk about on this episode is the truth about buy-in, buy-in. We talk a lot about getting buy-in. Here’s the hard truth about buy-in. People don’t have to buy-in to you. Hate to break it to you. Don’t care if you own the place. Don’t care if your name is on the sign. Buy-in is earned, it’s not assumed. You see you can’t command commitment. You can’t command a great performance. I’ve heard people say at my seminars, some of you know I speak a lot. I’ve done this for 20 years and I hear it come up often and often again, and people say, well, they have to buy-in to me. I’m the manager. They have to buy-in to me. I’m the leader, and it’s like, no, they don’t. You see, they can comply. They don’t have to commit.
Again, commitment is earned and commitment happens once people buy-in to you. John Maxwell wrote a book a long time ago called the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership and he talked about the law of buy-in, and basically what he said if I can summarize it, is that followers must first buy-in to the leader before they buy-in to the leader’s vision. I would expand that to say they first got to buy-in to you before they buy-in to your, not only your vision, but your change, your process, your schedule, your pay plan. If they haven’t bought into you they’re not going to buy into this stuff you’re trying to do or the places you’re trying to take them, but again, you have to earn it.
Now there’s four or five things people need to buy into when they’re looking at you. Number one, they may need to buy-in to your character. All right? They need to buy into your competence. They need to buy into your consistency. They need to buy into your compassion, and they need to buy into your commitment. Five things, they all start with C. I’ve made it easy. All right, let me run down the list here for you. Character. First of all, people are saying, can I trust you? Now if I can’t trust you, all right, I’m not going to buy-in to you. Trust is not just do you lie, cheat, or steal, but do you keep commitments? Right? Do you accept responsibility? Do you give credit when it’s due? All right, so and how do you earn that? With your daily words and deeds, man. You got to get out there and do the right thing every day.
The second thing is competence. Right now it’s not just do you have high character, but do you know what the heck you’re doing? You have a lot of people in leadership positions that don’t lead. They don’t know what they’re doing. They’re in over their heads. They over manage, they under lead. I might like you as a follower. If I’m your follower I might like you, all right? You’re fun to be around. You’re nice to me and so forth, but if you’re not competent I don’t want to follow you. I’m not going to buy-in to you. If you’re not competent, let me put it this way. Have I noticed that everybody who’s following you gets led into minefields and blown up? All right. All right, I’m going to wish you well. I’m going to smile and wave, but I’m not lining up for that abuse. Gotta buy-in to your character. Gotta buy-in to your competence.
Dave Anderson: Then consistency. Do you consistently demonstrate good character and competence, or do you have a flash of brilliance every once in a while, but when the pressure’s on you collapse? Then compassion. Do you care about me or am I just a number? Am I just another head in a herd of cattle, or do you really care about me? Do you spend time with me? Do you know how to motivate me? To move me you gotta know me. All right, and so people are saying, do you care about me? Then the fifth C is commitment. How committed are you? All right, do you come in late? Do I see you putting in the work? Do I see you making excuses and cutting corners?
I mean, don’t ask me to run through a wall as a follower if I just see you barely rapping on the door there. All right? That’s not very credible. Now here’s the heres the deal. When they start to buy into your character, your competence, your consistency, your compassion, and your commitment, now they’re buying into you and they’re going to buy into your vision, and your process, and your pay plan. They may still have questions. There may still be some pushback, but they’re going to give you more benefit of the doubt with what you want to do because they bought in to you first. Now, here’s another hard truth. It can take a long time to earn buy-in and you can lose it really quick. One wrong emotional outburst, one unkept commitment, one cut corner, one character compromise, one really boneheaded decision, and you can lose a lot of that buy-in. This is something you’re working on every day.
Can you see where you have to earn it? Can you see where it doesn’t matter if you own the place, if you’re the general manager, doesn’t matter about titles. What matters is about your performance. Be prepared to earn this every day. Let me give you one last thought. You may have been moved from a department where you had a lot of buy-in. Everybody believed in you. Man, they’d run through a wall for you, and now you’re in a brand new situation, brand new, brand new business. You’re in a brand new department. Whatever the case may be, right? You got to earn it all over again. All right? You can’t expect them just to buy-in to you based on your reputation. Your reputation will open the door. Your performance is going to get the buy-in, so be prepared to earn it. You’ve got to earn commitment. You’ve got to earn buy-in and that’s when you could really start to get results, but don’t ever be foolish or arrogant enough to think it’s automatic. It’s not. Earn it daily.
Thanks for watching Hard Truths with Dave Anderson.
ASBN Atlanta Small Business Network, part of JBF Business Media.