What do you do when talk turns political?
Now, usually, these political conversations are initiated by a homeowner after you’ve been invited inside, built rapport, and created a friendship.
They may have offered you coffee, and you’re relating to them as a friend when they think and assume, Well, everybody’s just like me. Therefore, they all share my political views.
That’s when they begin spewing their political agendas with an emotional passion that makes you want to crawl out of your skin because you feel the polar opposite and you’re stuck because you have one of three choices:
- You go into pure chameleon mode, violate your own values and morals, and pretend to be just like them, even though in your heart of hearts you know that you’re not, but you’re just trying to save the deal. That’s not a good choice.
- You can share your opinion, which basically means you’re going to throw a grenade right on the kitchen table and blow this deal to smithereens.
- You can try to skirt the conversation and bring it back to the sale. Still, you’ll probably have this really awkward deer in the headlights look on your face, which basically screams to them, “I don’t agree with you!” That’s going to cost you the deal later once they send you on your way, saying, “Thanks for coming out. We’ll call you in a few days if we’re interested.”
Now, this is for you, regardless of what end of the political spectrum you lie on. Quite frankly, I don’t care.
What I DO care about is how you treat other human beings and, specifically, your customers.
Before we dive in, I want to share a quick welcome or welcome back. Adam Bensman, The Roof Strategist.
And talking about taking care of your customers is directly tied to my mission, which is to help you and your team smash your income goals and give every customer an amazing experience. That’s what it’s ALL about.
After all, money is just a “Thank You” note for us to serve and receive “Thank You” notes back.
Now, I don’t know about you, but:
- ANYBODY can send me a “Thank You” note.
- I don’t need to be on the same page with them on everything.
- In my heart of hearts, ALL I care about is helping good people who are value-driven, who live their life by a sound set of morals and principles, and who are dedicated to being of use and serving.
So, I have to check my emotional baggage associated with my political views in order to be of service and to the highest degree possible.
I encourage you to do the same. Of course, you are your own being and get to decide what makes sense to you. I’m just sharing my view.
So, I want to share with you a really simple technique you can use to get back on track when conversations with customers of off the rails into political issues.
By the way, when this happens, it IS seemingly a GOOD thing because it means that:
- Your customer likes you.
- They trust you.
- They feel like you’re a friend because people assume that their friends are just like them.
In fact, being in this situation IS a good sign, and we don’t want to throw a grenade onto the kitchen table and lose a sale when this happens.
So, I’m going to teach you this technique and you can use it the very next time a conversation goes OFF the rails, regardless of whether it turns into politics or something else.
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How Politics Can Create Problems in Roofing Sales: True Story
I’m going to share a true story with you to highlight how politics can come up and what you can do to effectively and politely get past these conversations.
The other day, I’m out on a hike when I run into my neighbor who has become a good friend. We first met walking our dogs on the same trail in the mountain, and we kept seeing each other. It has turned into a sound friendship, and we’ve gone on hikes and watched playoff games together.
Now, we had NEVER talked politics until our last hike together. It turned political when he made a VERY charged comment. Quite frankly:
- I didn’t agree with what he said.
- I knew that getting into that dialogue and sharing my opinion wasn’t going to change his mind. He was really emotionally charged, almost to the point of using derogatory names toward another group.
To reel this back in:
- I waited.
- I let him kind of continue.
- I was sort of stunned, not knowing exactly what to say.
At this point, I ended up making the third mistake I shared at the beginning of this blog —I just sat there quietly, and my neighbor could sense what was going on.
So, he says, “I can tell you don’t share those views.”
Now, I REALLY didn’t know what to say because if I share my views, then we’re just going to end up in this back-and-forth debate that goes nowhere.
And quite frankly:
- I’m rather open about my political conversations.
- I don’t think things are black and white. All the big topics, it’s not this or that. There’s a whole story, and I like to look at these things a bit more holistically, rather than as simply black or white (and I’m going to leave it at that).
So, I start having this conversation a little bit, and I can tell this really isn’t going to go anywhere. Still:
- I just waited.
- I let him keep going on and on and on (and on), talking about the system.
- I’m thinking, I have to figure out how to get out of this conversation!
That’s when it happened — I saw a moment, an opportunity, to interject and change the subject. At that point, I casually said, “Speaking of the system…” and told a story about the system and my sister-in-law.
In fact, I said:
Speaking of messed-up systems, let me tell you this…
And I just completely shifted it away from politics and dove into a personal experience that she was going through. It was just a lateral move, and before I knew it, I’m sitting there thinking, Did he pick up that?
Then, 5 to 10 minutes goes by, and the conversation naturally evolved, like the political stuff NEVER even happened. It was BEAUTIFUL, and the coolest part is that:
- We were able to artfully dance around this topic.
- We can still be buddies.
- We don’t need to agree on
That’s why I wanted to this with you because I wish I had known about it earlier.
Key Takeaway: How to Overcome Political Hot Potatoes in Roofing Sales
Now, here’s the main takeaway of this strategy, so you can use this the very next time politics comes up when you’re talking to customers in door-to-door roofing sales.
When they bring up politics, you:
- Shift gears by saying, “Speaking of” and then just grab something that they shared.
- Change the subject to a completely different topic, even if it’s not totally related.
- Have fun with it! You literally have NOTHING to lose.
And it can be as easy as saying something like:
Speaking of the system, man, let me tell you about what happened to my sister-in-law…
That was the segue I used to just go into a story about some system and change the topic.
Now, you have a tool that I wish I had decades ago to get me out of those conversations. And, remember, these political conversations are a GOOD sign because they mean:
- Your customer likes you.
- They feel like you’re a friend.
So, learn the art of dancing around this topic. If you do, you can earn the business no matter what sides of the political fence — or any other hot-button topic — you and your customers stand on.
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Thanks for joining me, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the next blog.