The ABA Journal published a wonderful article about the legendary Texas lawyer “Racehorse” Haynes. In his very first jury trial, he accidentally stepped on a spittoon and fell to the floor in front of the judge and jury. After his client was later acquitted, he reasoned that it may have been because the jury felt sorry for the defendant being represented by such an inept attorney.
So, during his second trial, he stepped on the spittoon and fell again, only this time, on purpose. He performed this stunt over and over, almost a dozen times. All for the benefit of his clients and to achieve his goal: to win. Eventually, the game was up, as the judge caught on to his strategy and stopped him from continuing this tactic.
Racehorse Haynes remains famous to this day for countless examples of doing whatever it took to win for his client.
The psychology of being “not OK” applies in sales as well. It doesn’t always pay to look smooth and prepared. Providing a rapid, polished response to a prospect’s objection may do more to hurt the sale than help it. A salesperson with an overly confident belief that they can “help the prospect” in the early stages of a sales discussion only heightens the wall between them and the prospect. Conversely, the salesperson that approaches their discussions with concern that they may not be able to help creates rapport and trust with prospects.
Being “not OK” takes practice and is a technique to be used carefully. Indeed there is a fine line between looking “not OK” and appearing inept. Racehorse Haynes was able to successfully balance this in the courtroom. But most important is the fact that he was prepared to put his ego aside to do whatever would help win the case.
Are you putting your ego aside to do whatever will help you win the business?