5 Powerful Interests That Influence What People Do

One theory behind interest-based bargaining is that parties to a conflict are more likely to agree to a solution that meets one or more of their most important interests. If you’re one of the millions who’ve read William Ury’s work, you know this well, and you know his definition of interests: The intangible motivations that lead people to take positions – needs, desires, concerns, fears, and aspirations.

I used to remind my mediation grad students that if parties keep saying no to proposed solutions, the solutions either don’t meet an important interest or they don’t see that the solutions do. So it’s pretty pointless (and stepping over the mediator line in a lot of professionals’ books) to convince or manipulate them into agreement in these circumstances and so much more effective to look for solutions that do meet their interests or work to understand where they see the disconnect between the solution and their important interests.

Any of you who’ve read my book know I make the case for using interests to guide our marketing work in much the same way as they guide the work of many mediators. So, the concept above works for your market, too: People are more likely to agree to a service that helps them meet one or more of their most important interests.

In The 5 Things People Really Buy Duct Tape Marketing’s John Jantsch makes the case,

“…No matter if you sell heating and cooling services, legal services, hand painted greeting cards, or consulting, at the end of the day, your customers all buy some variation of the same five things.

So you better make sure you show them how you and your products and solutions are going to:

  1. Make them more money
  2. Save them more time
  3. Allow them to avoid the frustration of doing stuff they don’t like (like wasting time and money)
  4. Help them save or not lose money today and in future
  5. Help them feel better about themselves

Copy these five points and refer to them often as you develop your marketing and sales pitches.”

So, mediators, the work we do speaks very directly to interests 3, 4 and 5 and you could probably make the case for interest 2 as well. I see a lot of mediation marketing that addresses #4 (ok, in all honesty, I see it ad nauseam).

I think mediators are missing the boat by failing to address #3 and #5 in how we talk about what we do. What do you think?

                        author

Tammy Lenski

Dr. Tammy Lenski helps individuals, pairs, teams, and audiences navigate disagreement better, address friction, and build alignment. Her current work centers on creating the conditions for robust collaboration and sound decisions while fostering resilient personal and professional relationships. Her conflict resolution podcast and blog, Disagree Better, are available at https://tammylenski.com/archives/… MORE >

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