Would You Do It If Your Life Depended On It?
I was doing some in-house training for a client recently and we were discussing the elements of success and how to achieve greatness in sales. This is often not an easy conversation to have if we are honest with ourselves nor was it an easy conversation with my client. Success requires us to go beyond what has always been comfortable for us to do which then makes the discussion itself uncomfortable. You see, growth does not come just because you show up at your job every day. Most people go to work, do what they are comfortable doing, think very little outside of the normal routine, and then go home only to repeat it the next day, the next week, the next year . . . If you call this success, then your vision for success is limited because I believe every one of us was created for so much more!
Oftentimes in sales, we limit ourselves in terms of the true potential we can achieve. Intellectually, we know what must be done, what calls should be made, what networking events to attend, which doors to knock on; but emotionally, these behaviors are not supported due to fear, the pain of rejection, the possibility of failure. The result is self-sabotage. We do what we are comfortable doing and have always done which gives us the same average results as before. When we allow our emotions and attitudes to dictate the actions we take, self-sabotage is a very common result. If only we could flip this so that behavior is independent of emotional fear or non-supportive attitudes.
To challenge my client, I asked them to identify an action or behavior that they knew intellectually would lead to new sales but hadn’t done because of fear. Now, this created a problem for me. If I challenge my client to something like this, I need to do it too and so this is what I did: On a cold December Saturday morning, I drove to a neighborhood where I believed business owners were living. I parked my car and for 2 hours I went house to house knocking on doors looking for those who would listen to a 45 second commercial about Sandler Training. In 2 hours, I knocked on 45 doors, had 17 people listen to what I had to say, set one appointment, got one referral from a CEO of a large Omaha business, and had a lengthy conversation with a retired CEO of a $150 million manufacturing business who is willing to meet with me to help with strategic planning. Please understand that in the days and moments leading up to this prospecting event, I felt ill at times and was constantly thinking to myself that this is stupid. My emotions and attitude were saying stay home, relax and enjoy the weekend. But afterward, I saw the benefit of my behavior and my attitude went soaring. I did not let my attitude determine my behavior; rather it was my behavior that determined my attitude! Is there any doubt that I would win business if I kept up this behavior every weekend?
It is because of this experiment that I am certain every sales professional has the opportunity to achieve greatness. Courage, which is an attribute salespeople need, is doing something while being scared to death. Therefore, identify a handful of behaviors that you could do to win more business but might be uncomfortable doing. If your sales job requires courage every day, you are on the path toward greatness.
Even after reading this, I know most of you will continue down the path of familiar, comfortable behavior leading to less than exciting results. Your emotional fears and concerns will keep you from jumping off a new cliff that could take you to a new level. What if your life depended on it? What behaviors would you try then to grow business? Maybe your life does depend on it.
Sandler Training is a global training organization with over three decades of experience and proven results. Sandler provides sales and management training and consulting services for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies. For more information, please contact Karl Schaphorst at (402) 403-4334 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow his blog at karlschaphorst.sandler.com.