The (hidden) way to win people over

tablePay-off: the (until now, hidden) way to win people over
Investment: 5 minutes
Sign up to weekly posts here

This post won’t be for everyone.

But I do share a big secret about myself in it, and considering the market I tend to work with, I think it will help a few people, who in turn might just help a few other people too. Hopefully, it nudges a few things in motion.

The idea I’m about to share frequently makes a huge impact on me and I’m convinced has helped me land some major clients and influence people in my own life when it mattered. I hope it does for you too.

I’ll explain…

I read something a few years back that I think of almost daily. Love or hate Apple, I read the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson and was particularly interested in how Steve Jobs’ father influenced his design sense (which obviously later paid off somewhat).

The bits that people can’t see

It seems that when building or painting things, most people tend to not worry about the bits that people can’t see. I was certainly taught to focus only on the parts that people can see (so not to paint the back of a cabinet for example).

According to his biography, Steve Job’s father taught him the opposite; he emphasised the importance of carrying quality through to the unseen parts too.

They say that the inside of an iPhone is, in its own way, beautiful too. That the aesthetic design carries through. That may have once been one of Apple’s enjoyable little secrets.

In fact, to be clear, let me quote Walter Isaacson’s words from the biography where he visited the house that Steve Jobs grew up in:

Fifty years later the fence still surrounds the back and side yards of the house in Mountain View. As Jobs showed it off to me, he caressed the stockade panels and recalled a lesson that his father implanted deeply in him. It was important, his father said, to craft the backs of cabinets and fences properly, even though they were hidden. “He loved doing things right. He even cared about the look of the parts you couldn’t see.”

“For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”

The hidden flaws that you can see

Now perhaps this comes from an OCD or some degree of perfectionism, but personally, I rarely feel that great when I create something that I attempt to present as high-quality, when I secretly know it has hidden flaws.

Now I know that most things have imperfections and hidden flaws and that we must put our best foot forward when presenting ourselves and the things we create. I get that. And I also learned over the years that often ‘good enough’ is ‘good enough’. And that there are costs attached when focusing on the unimportant.

But, in some situations, I wonder if the ‘unimportant’ is much more important than it appears to be.

I have a big secret too

I have a big secret that I’ve sat on for ages. (I realise that’s about to change.) My big secret is that the last few pieces of furniture that I have painted, I painted every single square millimetre, even the bits you can’t see. And I didn’t tell a soul.

And despite the efficient folk amongst you sighing, I’m really glad I painted every single bit. I’ll do it again next time too. The secret always felt great to carry with me, just knowing the truth when others didn’t know. The quality, care and attention (as far as my painting goes) was there, and I was content.

Of course, this wouldn’t be up on my blog if it wasn’t linked to the work we all do, and especially those developing business or trying to trustfully and credibly help others make decisions.

This impacts how you win people over

It’s on my blog because the idea carries across perfectly, and I think it plays a bigger part in your success working with others than you may realise.

When you deliver or present to others, or engage others during BD activity or even socially, you surely put your attention towards the ‘bits they can see’.

You filter your behaviour, you probably put some effort into your physical appearance. You don’t reveal what’s behind the scenes. But others – of course – know you’re doing this. We all know it because we all do it. We all know that when we deal with other people and their work, we only really deal with the bit we can currently see – usually the bit they want us to see.

But what about the rest?

What’s really behind this person?

Can I trust them?

What are they hiding?

Are they really as good as they are trying to appear to be?

The hidden stuff is what really wins people over

What I’ve learned when I make sales myself, is that it’s vital to carry quality through to the ‘hidden stuff’ about you and your work for two major reasons:

1.Your clients (or prospective clients) look behind what you’re presenting for the ‘hidden stuff’. They peer behind the cabinet. They google you. They ask others about you. They check you out while you’re sleeping. Stalkers.

2.The ‘hidden stuff’ makes you. You know about it. It’s a part of you and your mind. It’s who you really are. It makes you either hang your head slightly or stand tall and proud. It makes you either distrust or trust yourself, even if no one else knows. It partly defines how you see yourself, and how you see yourself influences how others see you. I think it contributes to your clarity, peace of mind, self-confidence and the behaviours you project.

The hidden stuff shines through

Clearly, both of these impact how others perceive you. And they both imply that the apparently hidden is not hidden after all. It somehow shines through. It wins people over.

I’m not suggesting we all turn into perfectionists, so don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan that in some situations ‘good enough’ is ‘good enough’. (And in hindsight, everything that worked well enough was good enough). I’m also aware of cost implications when throwing resources at the unimportant. So you’ll need good judgment here about what hidden parts actually matter. But I’m convinced that some of the hidden parts that you know about absolutely matter.

It’s the reason I have occasionally put on a smart shirt whilst selling to some corporate clients over the phone even though I was working from home. I didn’t tell them. They didn’t know. But I did. And my hidden shirt won them over.

What are you hiding?

I wonder how you either consciously or subconsciously feel about your quality of work, your online presence, and how you present yourself to others?

What do you build or code or enhance or create? What do you ‘sell’?

And what secrets are you hiding about that?

I’m interested in how your own secrets about the ‘hidden parts’ of what you present influence your behaviour and consequently how others perceive, trust or value you and your work.

And I’m interested in how those are actually shining through to others without you realising.

You could do this…

You could put some TLC towards some of those hidden parts that perhaps matter?

Give others something delightful or at least positive and useful to find about you online, ready for when they go looking. Rather than just letting nature take care of your online trail.

Or you could secretly improve that hidden part in your work that means something to you – maybe just for the art, and tell no one. Just move on, whistling to yourself, standing tall and feeling good about your secret. Others may just see it shine through in you. And it may just win them over.

Just a thought.

Please share if you think others will find it useful.

Sign up to weekly posts here

Some more of my posts you may find useful:

Scroll to Top