Management Insights

Actionable articles and insights for busy executives

Seeing Beyond Yourself – from Mirrors to Windows

In one of his famous books called the Ultimate Sales Machine, author/entrepreneur/salesman Chet Holmes uses a quote (no one knows who said this originally)

“Maturity is when all of your mirrors turn into windows”.

Mr. Holmes goes on to say in his book:
“Most people live their lives surrounded by mirrors, focusing on themselves. They see their feelings, their needs. They think about how they come across to other people and whether or not they will get what they want…”

He continues by saying

“I love the line where someone says

‘but enough of me, now tell me what do you think about me?’.

Everyone’s favorite topic is themselves. So turn those mirrors into windows and you will be a much better presenter, salesperson, communicator and leader. Usually the most mature person in a relationship is the one listening the most. He or she is thinking about the other person’s needs and how to meet them..”

This is great advice. Here’s some practical insights and strategies to apply this “mirrors to windows” metaphor

1-Presentations and Sales Situations

You are about to present to a group or are in a one-one sales situation with a client. Start with the client’s need first. For example, let us assume you are selling website development. Instead of starting by saying

“we are one of the nation’s leading website development companies. We have been in operation since 1998 and we use the latest technology and tools..”

you might consider starting this way

“we understand you want to enhance your sales by attracting more potential customers to your website. Let me explain how my company can help you to achieve this within 30 days..”

2- Listening

One of your colleagues, a fellow manager, thunders into your office and tells you he is really mad at you about a comment you made about his team during the last management meeting. Your first instinct is to lash out as well, justify the comment you made and to let him know that you’re equally upset. Instead, because you’ve now read this “mirrors to windows” article, you motion for him to sit down, then tell him “I can see you’re really upset. Let’s discuss this”. Then do your best to just listen and take some notes to understand. When people realize that you are acknowledging them and their agenda, 90% of the time they’ll lower their guard and some of the initial negative emotion dissipates..

There are many applications of this insight – in customer service, in negotiation, in conflict management, in teams and in general in any transaction that inolves people interaction

4 Comments

  1. I read about this in Chet Holmes book “The Ultimate Selling Machine” so I guess I assumed it was his way of explaining maturity. But I stand corrected. Thank you

  2. The quote:
    “Maturity is when all of your mirrors turn into windows”.
    Is from Henry David Thoreau.

  3. thanks zoone – will try to put up more such articles – can you contribute one or two?

  4. Zoone Abbas

    02/03/2009 at 3:12 pm

    this is a brilliant piece of advice .. something like ‘leadership and self deception .. looking forward to more of such articles on the mdi forum.

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