“Nothing seems to be working lately. I follow the sales process. I’m mindful of where I’m at in each stage of the process but nothing is happening…nothing! I’m beginning to feel so discouraged. Can you help?”
-Jenny, Account Executive, Grand Rapids, MI
This is a recent email I received from an Account Executive. Are you doing all the right things and not getting the right results?
With the fierceness of competition all around, maybe it’s time to let out the rebel. If following the “rules of selling” doesn’t seem to work, then think and act like a rebel. Start with throwing the traditional “sales rules” out the window and be free of its limitations.
Caution: To be a true rebel you must fight the urge for the comfortable and familiar. You must be willing to be bold, audacious, and a free thinker exploring new ideas on how to develop sales.
Here are three steps when doing all the rights things stop getting the right results.
Forget what you know about selling
The famous UCLA basketball coach John Wooden had a very basic first practice of the season. He had all the players do a simple task and that’s to “practice” putting on their socks and tying their basketball shoes. Why? Because as the coach explained, ‘if the players get blisters, they won’t move as well.’
Coach Wooden believed in mastering the fundamentals. Rebels will often return to the basics to learn something new because rebels know the limit of their knowledge.
Try forgetting what you know about selling. (If you think you know all there is to know about selling, you stop learning). Go back to the basics with a rebel set of eyes. Look at the basics by practicing as a rebel to achieve different results.
- Learn different tones of voice for better communication over the phone.
- Dress differently.
- Change your hairstyle. I once added subtle pink highlights to my hair and was amazed how it became a conversation opener when making sales calls. The sales calls transitioned into a warm, interesting conversation because I simply broke the rules on how a Senior Account Executive was “suppose to look” in the “stuffy” world of the insurance industry.
Open conversations with prospects without an agenda.
Rebels understand that communication drives insights…insights for you and the prospect. So many things can ruin a conversation and cause the prospect to close up…an agenda, lazy dialog (by using “at the end of the day” until the cows come home!) Distractions, someone who talks too much or not enough, cussing, a jab comment, or insincere politeness or compliments to name a few conversation killers.
Rebels get results through honest feedback and new information by igniting new conversations even difficult conversations.
Constraints can be freeing
When you’re under the constraints of time or pressure to sell the “new” product that just launched, rebels work through the constraints to find freedom on the other side.
According to Francesca Gina, a researcher for Harvard Business School,
“Research tells us that when faced with constraints, we dedicate our mental energy to acting more resourcefully and doggedly, and surpass expectations – or better.”
Constraints open our mind to new possibilities which drive our creativity.
Rebels Challenge Assumptions
As a rebel be willing to challenge assumptions, especially your own assumptions. Believe that everything is subject to change regardless of what conventional sales wisdom holds. Be willing to hold yourself under questioning scrutiny.
“To question well, you must have the ability to say, ‘It doesn’t have to be that way.’”
-Warren Berger, A More Beautiful Question
According to Robert Burton (neurologist),
“Everything that’s ever happened to you or occurred to you in your life informs every decision you make-and also influences what questions you decide to ask. So it can be useful to step back and ask ‘Why did I come up with that question?’
In the world of sales, to achieve the desired results, why is it important to listen to prospects? Answer: In order to ask deeper questions to help the prospects. BUT it’s just as important for the salesperson to step back and ask themselves deeper questions as Robert Burton suggests. Go ahead..challenge the sales process and challenge your very own questions!
Sakichi Toyoda, founder of Toyota Industries originated the “five whys” methodology. The cliff note version is when a question is asked and the answer is given, probe deeper by asking why. I do this in my coaching sessions. When I ask a question and receive an answer, I probe deeper by asking a follow-up question ‘why is that important to you?’
Toyoda’s theory asks the why question for every answer 5 times. In my experience when using this technique in coaching and selling, you may get to the root answer in 3 whys or it may take 6 or 7 whys. The point is the method is an excellent way for both parties to dig deeper and get to the real issue, or answer.
Apply Toyoda’s method to your questions.
Then ask…Should you be asking this question or is there a different question you should be asking? Does your question have a bias or an assumption embedded in it?
CHALLENGE: Rethink your questions. Ask rebel questions instead of taking the lazy way and using the status quo thinking.
If you’d like to learn how to sell with intelligence in the upcoming new year, why not schedule an introductory call with me and discover how coaching can help you accomplish more! Schedule by clicking here. You’ll never know what’s possible unless you do. Why not do it now!
Christine Harrington is the Savvy Sales Lady, helping sales teams and individuals win more sales through a unique way of selling called Peak Performance Mindset. Christine brings 40 years of selling experience with Fortune 500 Companies, to help you shorten the learning curve, move past your selling blocks and position yourself as a Peak Performer. Sales Leaders, Sales Managers, Sales Teams, Small Business owners and their employees have captured their edge by attending Christine’s Peak Performance Mindset Workshop and Coaching. Learn how she can help you or your team. Get the edge by clicking here.