Which manager or sales person has never been in David and Goliath situation? Whether presenting an uncomfortable set of results to top management or pitching to an investor or speaking to division leaders and CTOs at other companies to present a product or service, it is often the case that a certain amount of nervousness is attached with such meetings.
The problem with this is that many companies sell themselves short or make unnecessary concessions which harm their business long term.
Initially the alienation effect was used in the theatre by Brecht in the 1920s The idea was to show that those in power were no more special than ordinary people. The idea was to estrange the audience from becoming emotional to the characters and the story on stage and is quoted by many to be a part of the theatre of cruelty.
I am sure that Brecht however never conceived the use of this effect in today’s business world or even in daily lives.
The majority of us grow up in a society where the successful are almost seen as heroes, the notion that those in top positions deserve to be there as they have worked harder than the rest, or are more clever or talented than the rest. Where perhaps this can be true in some instances, it is our reaction to this social rule that often holds us back from moving mountains. Of course we must not forget that decision makers hold the strings in their hand as to the success or your pitch or not.
However we must ask ourselves the question, what do people look up to? What makes some people more successful than others. Of course personality plays a major role as to whether you are liked or not, but whether liked or hated there is one attribute that is seen positively and adds power to all whom this attribute behold and this is the power of confidence.
Managers and sales individuals at smaller companies which have this confidence will find it easier at convincing people in key positions to work together with them.
So where does the alienation effect come in to this? This effect comes into play when we take a step back from our social pre-conditioning and view the people, regardless to their heritage, creed, sex or position as individuals with similarities. The artist Cristina Guggeri for instance drew a set of controversial images of statesmen and ladies as well as revered religious figureheads doing their duty on toilets, i.e. allowing us mortals to see them at our level.
If a company has the opportunity to deliver their content to the management level of a larger organisation, the likelihood is that there is a need. Otherwise there would not be a conversation. This means that the decision making is a two-tier model. You need the decision makers yes word, but the decider needs the right solution at the correct price.
Alone at this level both parties have needs and the selling party has the ability to use its motivation and confidence to win over the customer.
Of course it would be a fallacy to state that confidence alone will win a company a big project or deal, but the ability to get away from the Lion vs. Mouse way of thinking and this is the ability to alienate the decision maker from his / her power and respect position to the same level as oneself.
Experience shows that confidence comes across well at decision makers. Powerful people tend to adapt well to the power of others and respect this. The ability to see the person you are dealing with at your level will take a major hurdle out of your way and enable your organisation to find the strength and wisdom to ask the correct questions and make it easier to obtain good results