This week, U.S. tennis player Coco Gauff changed her strategy to defeat Jelena Ostapenko at the U.S. Open. After losing to her at the Australian Open in January, Gauff’s coaches advised her to stop hitting hard, fast balls (which she loves) and to start hitting slower, spin balls (which aren’t her favorites.) Why? Because Ostapenko is great at returning hard, fast balls. That’s how she won last time.
THE “SECOND MOST IMPORTANT PERSON” STRATEGY
Think of it this way: The most important person on the court sticks to their game, no matter who’s the opponent. The second most important person on the court customizes their game to address the strengths and weaknesses of each opponent.
SERVE UP YOUR POINTS EXACTLY THE WAY THEY WANT IT
In tennis, you study your opponent’s game so you can deny them the shots they love to hit. In business, it’s just the opposite. You study their communication style and viewpoint so you can deliver your message in the exact way they want to receive it – even if that’s not how you prefer it.
If they like small talk, don’t jump straight into business. If they just want the “big picture,” don’t bore them with details. If they are concerned about the budget, don’t hold that back until the end. When you adjust your approach to their preferences, you’ll gain more consideration and win more decisions.
HOW HAVE YOU ADJUSTED YOUR STYLE TO INFLUENCE?