SELF-IM­PROVE­MENT

How many times have you been close to get­ting some­thing, but not quite made it? Here’s our ul­ti­mate guide to get­ting over that tricky fi­nal hur­dle, in ev­ery­thing from real es­tate to ro­mance

Friday - - Contents -

Do you want to ask some­one on a date or ace that job in­ter­view? We tell you how to seal the deal.

How of­ten have you set out to ac­com­plish some­thing only to see the re­sult you’d hoped for dis­ap­pear be­fore your very eyes?

Fail­ing to seal the deal is ag­o­nis­ingly com­mon­place.

While the rea­sons why things don’t pan out are fre­quently be­yond our con­trol, equally as of­ten, we only re­ally have our­selves to blame. Lack of con­vic­tion, wishy-washy lan­guage and send­ing out all the wrong mes­sages can de­rail a deal at the last minute.

Luck­ily, these are things we can fix. Five ex­perts tell us how.

Seal the deal… IN DAT­ING

‘We’re all scared of re­jec­tion in life, although some of us let this fear hold us back more than others,’ says Rachel MacLynn, a char­tered psy­chol­o­gist and founder of Vida Con­sul­tancy, an in­ter­na­tional match­mak­ing agency. ‘But think about what ac­tu­ally hap­pens when some­one says “no”. Our ego gets a lit­tle dented, we might feel a bit em­bar­rassed. Is it re­ally that bad? Pro­vided we han­dle the sit­u­a­tion with grace and con­fi­dence then we can avoid ever los­ing face over some­one say­ing, “Thanks, but no thanks”.’

The first les­son if you want more dates, then, is to toughen up a bit. Re­jec­tion will help you to be more re­silient and will make you re­alise that the world hasn’t stopped to laugh at you.

Once you’ve ac­cepted this, it’s time to work on a game-plan.

‘Don’t say the word “date” if you’re ner­vous about some­one re­ject­ing you,’ says MacLynn. ‘Of­fer­ing to “take some­one for a drink” is a good way to show in­ter­est and get to know them one on one with­out hav­ing to put a la­bel on it.’

Be spe­cific about the plans. So rather than say­ing ‘would you like to go out some­time?’, give the per­son a clearer idea of what you have in mind, such as ‘Have you been to the new Greek res­tau­rant in JBR? I’ll take you there one evening next week, if you’re free. You’ll love it!’

Be­fore rush­ing in with your seal-the-deal line, how­ever, it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing that psy­chol­o­gists think that over 90 per cent of com­mu­ni­ca­tion is non-ver­bal. ‘Yes, your words are im­por­tant,’ says MacLynn, ‘but don’t over-think it. There’s no point com­ing out with a string of elo­quently thought-through words if you’re shak­ing with nerves and mum­bling.’

She sug­gests that some sim­ple ‘in­flu­enc­ing tech­niques’ are worth a try when try­ing to be per­sua­sive.

Start a sen­tence that you want your prospec­tive date to ac­cept as fact by us­ing words such as: ‘ob­vi­ously’, ‘clearly’ or ‘ev­ery­body knows’. For ex­am­ple: ‘Ev­ery­body knows that the best re­la­tion­ships start with some­one be­ing asked out in per­son rather than through a dat­ing app,’ or, ‘Ob­vi­ously, we’d have a fun night out if we went for din­ner’.

Draw their at­ten­tion to a thought you want them to agree with, such as: ‘You and I clearly get on; let’s go for a drink this week­end,’ or, ‘I’m sure you’re be­gin­ning to see we have a con­nec­tion’.

Turn your in­vi­ta­tion into a po­lite com­mand rather than a ques­tion. For ex­am­ple, ‘Let’s go for a cof­fee’ is harder to re­sist than ‘Would you like to go for a cof­fee?’, which is easy to an­swer with a ‘no’.

Just be­fore ask­ing the per­son out, pose a se­ries of ques­tions that you know will be an­swered with ‘yes’. This puts the per­son into a pos­i­tive frame of mind and will sub­con­sciously lead them to want to an­swer ‘yes’ when you sug­gest meet­ing up some­time.

Seal the deal… IN AN IN­TER­VIEW

‘You seal the deal at a job in­ter­view by cre­at­ing trust,’ says Kam­ran Tork, a cer­ti­fied ex­ec­u­tive coach based in Dubai. ‘And the way to cre­ate trust is to have a clear strat­egy for the in­ter­view.’

Tork doesn’t have any Jedi mind tricks to bam­boo­zle the in­ter­viewer, sadly, but he says these aren’t nec­es­sary if you be­lieve in your­self, un­der­stand the job open­ing and are sure that you are the right per­son for the role.

‘When I ask clients what their job strat­egy is, most don’t have one,’ he says. ‘They have typ­i­cally read up on the com­pany, but that’s it. My ad­vice is to first go “in­ward” to find out your needs – your mo­ti­va­tors and val­ues – and your unique gifts and skills.’

Once you have a more com­pre­hen­sive idea of what you stand for and what makes you spe­cial, try per­fect­ing talk­ing about this dur­ing net­work­ing and on less im­por­tant job open­ings.

‘By unearthing our unique gifts and match­ing them with roles that use more of these skills, we are put­ting our­selves in our sweet spot and have a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage,’ he ex­plains.

To fur­ther tip the bal­ance in your favour, share ex­am­ples that are spe­cific to the role about how you have made a dif­fer­ence in the past. ‘Have spe­cific ac­com­plish­ment sto­ries to hand,’ he says.

Af­ter the in­ter­view has fin­ished, Amer­i­can web­site Re­cruiter.com rec­om­mends send­ing a note to the per­son who in­ter­viewed you thank­ing them for their time – and then bring up some­thing im­por­tant from the in­ter­view that you can fol­low up on, for ex­am­ple: ‘I was think­ing about what you said about find­ing it hard to get re­peat buy­ers and I thought that one strat­egy might be to ini­ti­ate a di­rect mar­ket­ing cam­paign.’ If you can ex­plain how you did this suc­cess­fully at a pre­vi­ous com­pany, even bet­ter.

This prob­a­bly doesn’t work if it’s some­thing that you were specif­i­cally grilled about dur­ing the in­ter­view (and failed to give a good an­swer to); it works best when it looks like you’re go­ing out of your way to help them with some­thing.

Seal the deal… IN BUSI­NESS

‘In Dubai, sales are run in a very dif­fer­ent way than in the UK or the US,’ says UAE-based Gareth Jones of Aspen Woolf (as­pen­woolf.co.uk), a prop­erty in­vest­ment group, which now has an of­fice in Dubai. ‘Here, it’s old-school, face-to-face busi­ness, hand­shakes and cof­fee. Even how you hand over your busi­ness card will all make the dif­fer­ence.’

Jones says that right way to hand over your busi­ness card is by us­ing two hands. ‘It’s more re­spect­ful,’ he says. Con­sider hav­ing your busi­ness card printed in both English and Ara­bic – one lan­guage per side.

A client, he says, will typ­i­cally buy from a per­son or com­pany that has demon­strated that they can of­fer an ex­ten­sive ser­vice, and who un­der­stand the lo­cal busi­ness cus­toms. ‘Keep­ing your­self up to date, be­ing pro­fes­sional and do­ing what you say you’ll do as well as go­ing above and be­yond ex­pec­ta­tions will im­press clients,’ he says.

Fi­nally, to keep the odds in your favour as you ap­proach the fi­nal hand­shake, Forbes con­trib­u­tor Brent Beshore says that it’s es­sen­tial to have worked out the other party’s mo­ti­va­tions – be­cause they’re not al­ways fi­nan­cial.

Beshore says these mo­ti­va­tions could in­clude fame or pres­tige, per­sonal be­liefs, em­ployee well-be­ing and a whole host of other things.

The fi­nal step is sim­ply to work out how best to of­fer the other party a deal that will be ap­peal­ing to them.

Seal the deal… IN REAL ES­TATE

Af­ter months of search­ing, you fi­nally find the per­fect ocean-view apart­ment or quiet lit­tle villa – but how do you make sure you get it?

Mark Homer, co-founder of prop­erty in­vest­ment ex­perts Pro­gres­sive Prop­erty, has bought and sold more than 700 apart­ments, homes and busi­ness premises. He says it’s all about find­ing out what is im­por­tant to the seller.

‘Is it speed?’ he says. ‘Or do they need a flex­i­ble sales process whereby le­gal com­ple­tion can be de­layed un­til they find an­other home?’

Once you’ve worked out what they need, he says, try to build a deal giv­ing them as many of the things that they want as you can. ‘Some­times price isn’t their main con­cern,’ he says. ‘This means you may end up with a cheaper prop­erty if you serve their other needs.’

To put your­self in a strong po­si­tion, Homer says it’s es­sen­tial to have your house in or­der – no pun in­tended. ‘Buy­ers of­ten bid on prop­er­ties when they don’t have their fi­nances sorted and this in­for­ma­tion fre­quently be­comes ob­vi­ous to the seller,’ he says.

‘The seller will prob­a­bly there­fore be­come less in­ter­ested in do­ing a deal with that buyer as they ex­pect there is a higher like­li­hood of the deal fall­ing through.’

He says that spend­ing time get­ting a mort­gage de­ci­sion be­fore bid­ding or get­ting a bank state­ment that can be given to the agent to show that the cash is there to do the deal will un­der­pin the bid.

One fi­nal thought: ‘The agent usu­ally sells the deal to the seller,’ says Homer, ‘so, the buyer needs to sell them­selves to the agent. The best way to do this is to cre­ate the per­cep­tion that you are very com­mu­nica­tive, or­gan­ised and re­li­able. Get­ting back to the agent quickly and do­ing what you say – such as turn­ing up on time – are good in­di­ca­tors.’

In Dubai, it’s old-school, FACE-TO-FACE busi­ness, hand­shakes and cof­fee. Even how you hand over your BUSI­NESS CARD will all make the dif­fer­ence. The cor­rect way to do this is by us­ing TWO HANDS

Seal the deal… IN HAG­GLING

The art of hag­gling is one that some peo­ple find easy to mas­ter. For the rest of us, get­ting Dh5 off a new Toy­ota would be an achieve­ment. Money-sav­ing in­ter­net sen­sa­tion Miss Thrifty says on her web­site that the main things you need when try­ing to get a deal are front and per­sis­tence. ‘If you’re shy or coy you’ll get nowhere,’ she writes.

She sug­gests that there are bet­ter ways to ap­proach hag­gling rather than just beg­ging for a dis­count, in­clud­ing ask­ing if there would be a spe­cial price if you bought more than one item, or men­tion­ing that you’ve seen the prod­uct cheaper on­line.

Travel ex­pert Rick Steves sug­gests that when buy­ing over­seas or at an un­fa­mil­iar mar­ket, you should try loi­ter­ing to see what lo­cals pay – this be­ing a fair re­flec­tion of the ‘true’ price. Have a bored or penny-pinch­ing ‘wing­man’ to tug you away, thus threat­en­ing to jeop­ar­dise the deal.

Re­spected Bri­tish con­sumer mag­a­zine Which?, mean­while, points out that be­ing friendly and po­lite nor­mally works bet­ter than be­ing ag­gres­sive. It’s also OK to show in­ter­est in the prod­uct – let the sales­man know that you’re a gen­uine buyer. In an in­ter­view with a for­mer sales­man, Which?’s jour­nal­ist is told in no un­cer­tain terms that the no­tion that buy­ers need to be non­cha­lant and hide their in­ter­est is ac­tu­ally non­sense.

Be­ing friendly and PO­LITE nor­mally works bet­ter than be­ing ag­gres­sive. It’s also OK to show IN­TER­EST in the prod­uct

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