A Coercive vs. a Noncoercive Approach

Jim Cathcart (author of RELATIONSHIP SELLING and the ACORN PRINCIPLE and a sought-after international speaker) relates how he worked in the mountains in Arkansas repossessing vehicles when payments were not made on the loan.

Needless to say, he and what he was about to do, were not welcomed by the mountain men. As Jim was about to be ushered off the property, he would say, “OK, I’m leaving.” Then he added, “But look out for the guy who comes next time.”

“What do you mean?” would be the response. Jim then would describe that since he was not successful in getting any money towards the payment of the loan, the guy who would come collecting next was twice his size, not nearly so nice, and likely to be accompanied by the sheriff.

Somehow Jim would always get some money toward payment of the loan.

When he moved up the company ladder, his replacement was a veteran of the Marine Corps. A noncoercive approach is not the hallmark of these warriors. The former marine used the same tactics his drill instructors had used on him. Predictably, he met with resistance every time.

In fact, Jim’s replacement landed in the hospital for an extended stay only ten days after he was on the job.

Why did Jim succeed staying in good health and always reaching his objective of collecting some money while his successor was unsuccessful in both? The reason is that Jim behaved as a partner in problem solving and his replacement behaved as a “persuader.”

Need I explain the difference in effectiveness between a noncoercive vs. a coercive approach?