Sell Don’t Tell - 7 Steps to Mobilize Others

by Howard Goldman

Mobilization occurs when you interact with people and create the opportunity for them to act on their commitments. In mobilization, you design a conversations with others in which they are freed to act toward what they care about. Mobilization is a setting for building your relationship with others.

Although mobilization can occur freely and spontaneously, the following seven steps will guide you in intentionally and successfully mobilizing others:

  1. Make contact. People vote early in your conversation with them, so making contact is vital to connecting with others. Smile. Present yourself openly. Check out your body language. Are your arms and legs crossed or uncrossed? Did I say smile? Take the initiative to offer your name.

  2. Get related . Small talk is not needless talk. Speaking about the weather or where you’re visiting on vacation isn’t wasted talk. It establishes a common base of experience that is at the heart of mobilization. Stay awake to the environment in which the conversation is happening; it contains information to which you can build relationship. Be interested in what others say, and validate their points of view. Put attention on them, not on yourself.

  3. Move the conversation along. Once you’ve connected, ask what the other person wants to accomplish in the conversation, and state how you’re in agreement to their aims. Agreeing on common outcomes establishes the background and shared expectations.

  4. Build possibilities. Now focus on creating ideas and possibilities that fit within the stated framework of expectations for the discussion. Clarify and build on what is being said in the process of relating and creating together. Seek to both understand and be understood. In the best cases, the conversation becomes animated and develops on itself. The ideas and possibilities are proposals for what can happen.

  5. Make it happen. In your discussion, you’ve raised some ideas and possibilities that require a bridge to the future. Summarize what you’ve heard and suggest some appropriate actions. When you’ve agreed on or amended each opportunity you’ve outlined, firm up the commitments to act. Here’s what you’ll do, and this is what they’ll do. Secure the action in clear timeframes. Yes, it’s about commitment.

  6. Look for potential breakdowns. This step can be a quick and graceful transition to closure, which follows. Review any immediate concerns or likely problems arising from what you’ve agreed. Now is the time to say what could go wrong. Speak to those possible eventualities in a way that reinforces your accord and partnership.

  7. Acknowledge what’s been created. State again what you’ve agreed. Thank the other person for their commitment and for the relationship. Appreciation brings closure, honors the other person, and sets up the cycle of connectedness for your next contact with them. The circle is complete. You and they are mobilized for action.

Mobilization is the name of the game. Whatever game you think you’re playing starts and ends with mobilization. It’s time to enjoy the game and get good at playing.





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