Have you ever had an effortless sales meeting where everything just clicked?
Would you like to repeat it?
That’s what today is about. Selling should not be over-complicated, but for some reason it has become that way. I’ve been talking with friends and clients recently about challenges that society faces. A major one is this concept of being busy all the time. Everyone I talk to tells me how they’re so bus and it has almost become like a badge of honor to see who can be the busiest.
And in our business we continue to pile on tool after tool, technology, ideas, problems, tasks, to-dos, and it goes on and on. So if we know that is happening for ourselves, it MUST be happening for our customers too, right?
What can you do?
Your role in the selling universe is to help solve problems for your customers and one way you can do it is by not adding more “stuff” to their lists. Don’t bombard them with info, calls, emails, texts, or anything else that makes their life more difficult.
You should be seen as a valuable resource and customers should be excited to hear from you.
In order to get to that level, the secret is that you must work on yourself first.
This post is part of my FREE 7 Day Sales Bootcamp email series and is probably the most powerful of all the lessons. If you haven’t done so, make sure you get these emails sent to you. They will get your sales mind in the right place.
In the last post, I talked to you about doing the hard work to make the selling look easy by working on developing your insights, trust, and credibility. These are powerful concepts and require a ton of conscious effort.
Today, I want to take the pressure of you when it comes to all of the “stuff” you have to do. I want to leave with a sense of excitement about how simple selling is and how in control you can be about your future.
(Remember to click here or the play button below for the audio)
Sales flow and your two minds
Do you ever have those days that just fly by and everything seemed effortless? Mihaly Csikszentmihaly (pronounced six-cent-mihaly) wrote about this in his book “Flow: The Psychology of the Optimal Experience” He describes it as a state of effortless concentration so deep that you lose sense of time, of yourself, of your problems. Or in other words, the “optimal experience”
You CAN increase the amount of time you get into a sales flow state…with practice. This is one of the main areas I train people in. It’s all about learning to turn conscious thought into unconscious behaviors. And it actually makes your life easier.
One of my other favorite books is “Thinking Fast and Slow” by psychologist and Nobel Prize winner, Daniel Kahneman. It is very thorough and helped me understand a bit more about why we certain things. In lesson 4, I went through some of the brain science, and here is a bit more that I love.
Have you ever driven somewhere and don’t quite remember how you got there? Or what about when you are on the highway and you have to take a curve on the road? Now think back to when you first learned to drive a car. Was it easy? NOPE.
The concept is that our minds are comprised of two systems, which Kahneman calls System 1 and System 2. Complicated, right?
System 1 is intuitive thought. It operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effect and no sense of voluntary control. It is why driving a car with experience is easy. You just do it without having to think.
System 2 is deliberate thought. It allocates attention to the effort for mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. When you first learn to drive, you have to tap into many different conscious thoughts about what to remember and the whole activity becomes completely complex, right?
Think about a professional athlete or a chess player for a moment. How many steps ahead do they think? What instincts do they tap into?
Any activity can become fast and autonomic from prolonged practice.
When selling, I know that today there is a comfort zone for my conversations and process today that is vastly different from the one it was ten years ago.
What you should work on is getting yourself into a state of flow (system 1) where things are comfortable, then working to engage the system 2 and bring in conscious thought. I used to just go through the motions of pre-prepared pitches. I would be very comfortable saying what I had practiced, but I wondered why it didn’t work? When I started to engage the System 2 and look for behavior triggers, I started to build a new set of observation skills into my System 1.
When you do the work on yourself, you can call it becoming more self aware. When you learn to read others and respond accordingly, it’s being socially aware.
This also includes setting your intentions ahead of time. How do you want to be perceived? What energy do you want to give off? What feeling do you want to evoke in others?
My challenge for you here is to take ANY of the lessons I have gone through and just look for a conscious way to introduce it into your next sales conversation. Of course at first, it is uncomfortable as you try and process a bunch of new stuff, but with practice, it will become natural
Flow neatly separates the two forms of effort: concentration on the task and the deliberate control of attention.
As Kahneman points out, “We only have so much capacity. We intuitively understand this. That is why everyone in a car shuts up when you pass a big truck.”
Knowing this limited capacity, we need to dig into how it applies in sales. Can you keep your customers in the the sweet spot of attention, based on their level of skill and comfort? For example, a highly technical buyer can keep up with stats. It’s in their System 1. But…if not, you can’t push.
Further to that idea, one of your goals is to keep your conversations, and your customers in a state of flow.
In Daniel Gilbert’s article, “How mental systems believe,” he helps us understand that System 1 wants to believe, but System 2 is in charge of doubting and unbelieving. This explains why story telling is so powerful, while at the same time, must be believable. And this is also why you can’t have success claims for your customers that reach too far and feel unbelievable. That’s talk for another day…
Let’s talk about being prepared and setting goals!
If you’ve learned anything over the past 7 lessons, it’s that there is much to be done. Too many times, we get busy though, right? When I work with clients, usually they are starting from a place of doing too much already, so how can they find the time to plan? Does that sound like you?
Look at your day, week, or month. Do you have a written plan? Have you worked your goals backwards into the activities you need for each day?If you don’t know what you are supposed to do each day, how do you know you did it?
Take the time and build a strategy. You owe it to yourself. Work on the previous lessons and figure out some areas you want to test. Go try some stuff!
Know what you don’t know
No one is perfect – be cool with that. Be aware that there is unlimited knowledge and that each day represents an opportunity to learn something new. To test out language, to see how you can engage your System 2, and to get uncomfortable.
Any time I ask myself or my clients to try something uncomfortable, we just ask the question, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
Be okay with being wrong. Learn. Improve.
Lastly, let’s talk about feedback loops.
Nothing you do will happen in a straight line. Even if your goal is to constantly move your customer towards the goal with micro-commitments like we discussed in Lesson 2, you still need to be aware of feedback.
It’s the same as when you get in the shower and turn the water on. Is that not the hardest part of the day – getting the temperature correct? Just look at the tap wrong and lava flows out!
Well, that entire process is a feedback loop. You touch the tap, the water changes, you feel the water, you readjust. And If you adjust too soon before the water comes out, you won’t EVER get the results you want.
Think of your sales process the same way. Make small adjustments, test them, and give them time to let the temperature become right before you try something new. Have a look at my process below – you should have downloaded this in Lesson 1.
There are actually more feedback loops, and two I want you to consider are:
- Customer Feedback. When was the last time you asked your customer about how good your process was? You may be testing ideas and resources, but do you take the time and ask them if what you are doing actually helps? You would be surprised how much this accelerate your growth.
- Replaying and Coaching. How coachable are you? Do you review you calls with yourself or your manager, or better yet – a coach? Do you solicit honest feedback and make yourself open to criticism? It’s tough looking at where you go wrong, and it never feels good, but are you willing to learn and grow?
There are no right answers, just tested processes.
Remember, that if you are a good person, willing to learn, you CAN become a sales hero.
Above everything else, HAVE FUN.
Selling is the lifeblood of every organization. There is immense pressure to perform every single day and constant scrutiny of our abilities.
Most people wonder if salespeople get some sick pleasure out of being rejected day in and day out. They just don’t get it.
That feeling of helping someone make a great decision. That overwhelming sense of YEAHHHH! when you get off the phone and your buyer agreed to the terms for a big contract.
And those moments when we get to be truly authentic immediately and connect with someone else about THEIR problems and we help them solve some problem that’s been keeping them up at night.
And to look at the faces around you knowing they will all have jobs because of work you did.
So your homework today is to go have fun. How fast can you love your customer on the phone? How authentic can you be in your conversations? When you are mid-presentation, take a split second to engage that System 2 and see if you both are having fun. If not, switch it up!
I’m building a sales training program that I would love you to be a part of and I will only be taking a handful of people. If you are interested in this, email me. I have been swamped with the number of requests I am getting, so get to me quickly.
If you are looking to work with me directly, see below.
I hope you are going to take these lessons and go out to kick some ass. Please let me know how it goes.
Here are some related posts from my blog that go into more details on some of these ideas:
- Want to connect quickly? Just start laughing!
- 3 mental roadblocks busy people face
- Sales call planning: What to do before you pick up that phone
- 10 keys to long term success
Want some help planning your goals? Grab my 90 Day Sprint Guide for $9 if you want a bit more clarity and to understand why we struggle with goals.
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