French author André Maurois is quoted as saying, "Business is a combination of war and sport" and it’s clear that many business strategists agree. And there are hundreds of articles and blogs refer to Sun Tzu’s "Art of War" as the "business strategy bible". So, if business is battle, then we need to learn to use every tool we have in order to succeed.
Learning to Fight: Using a Mixed Martial Arts Mentality
Competitors in mixed martial arts use techniques from a number of different sports and martial arts–like boxing, jujitsu, and wrestling–to win. As explained here by Spartan lifestyle expert Victor Pride, most contact sports are single-minded and their rules only work in certain situations, limiting our effectiveness when it matters the most. So, if our goal is to be able to fight in business–and WIN–a mixed martial arts mentality is the ideology what we need to embrace.
Time & Place: Achieving a Healthy Setting for Good Business
The setting of any battle has a lot to do with the outcome, so remember there is a place and time for talking business and for just learning about your customer or competition. Rain Group, a global sales consulting company, notes that underachieving sales people talk too much: they think every moment with a customer is the right one to discuss business.
This is just not true. The time for talking business isn’t always "right now" and sometimes it’s "later". The gift of gab can impress, but that isn’t the tool you should be automatically reaching for at every meeting. Tools like listening and curiosity are just as important as wit and words.
So if you can get the timing right, remember to get the place right, too. Where you are mentally and emotionally is just as important as where the other person is. You can achieve a cool, collected state of mind by setting yourself up with a business apartment (aka corporate apartment) where you’ll have space to think and plan with the resources at your disposal. Some companies, like Corporate Habitat, know how important it is to prepare for whatever kind of business battle you’re heading into. Being prepared will make all the difference.
Being Human during War
Your most powerful tool in business is one you share with your client, customer, and competition: your humanity.
You are not a robot who only talks closing deals and cash flow. You are a whole human being with an arsenal of weapons at your disposal to connect with, and thereby win over, potential customers, like compassion, hobbies, shared interests, humor, empathy, and life experiences.
And as Greg Gottesman of Madrona Venture Group states, “Companies don’t make deals with other companies. People make deals with people. Understanding the motivations and incentives of the relevant people involved is critical to getting a deal done.”