Most people initially struggle in sales because they’ve been taking orders their whole life. When you were young, you did what your parents told you to do. Sure, you may have bucked up a time or hundred, but immediately you’d back down from rebelling once they slapped you back with one of those, “When you have your own damn place and pay your own damn bills, then you can do whatever the hell you want to do…but until then, you better do what the hell I tell you to do!” We grow older, but in some ways, we never age emotionally-I mean we pop bottles on monumental birthdays, but we stall out in a fixed wage mindset. Our employer tells us, “Do that and I’ll pay you this,” which traditionally is par for the course, but when you get into the sales, you’ve got to take that decade or more of being an “order taker-” of being told what to do and you’ve got to flip it on its head. If you were working in fast food as a salesperson, it’d be as if someone came in and placed an order, and then you turned right back around and challenged that same order.
(Customer): “Yea I’d like a large #6 with a Coke.”
(You, the fast food salesperson): “You know a small cheeseburger with a water would be calorically better.”
You couldn’t do that working at Slap Beef Burger– hell you wouldn’t be there long if you did. You can’t challenge when it comes to taking orders, but you do have to push back when it comes to working in sales.
Selling effectively is all about challenging the thoughts of your customers. Statistically speaking most of your customers are going to buy something different than when they first started looking. Keeping that thought in mind, it’s not that you ignore them or tell them defiantly, “You don’t need that…this is what you need;” it’s more so leaning into their logic with suggestions and notice the patterns that begin to emerge when you ask Past, Present, and Future questions. What did they like before? What do they wish they had now as opposed to then? Why is your customer in the market in the first place and how will your product fit their needs? Based on your customers’ answers, you then begin to steer the sale, by adjusting your sails. As the conditions of your customers’ answers improve or deteriorate, you adjust your sails towards the winds of budgetary concerns, options, equity, or the fact that they’ve got a funky attitude thanks to their last 4 sales experiences.
I know this seems challenging at first. You will get better, but first, you’ve got to stop stopping. When a customer “places an order-” when they make a statement or voice an objection don’t just pull up short and react, clarify and challenge their thoughts, objections, fears and concerns instead. What do they really mean? Where are they going with this? What’s the intent behind their words? Anticipate and adjust accordingly. Think to yourself, how can I give their ideas fresh legs with a new perspective?
Of course when you’re new, your mind is going to screeeeam at you to stop. This is all new to you-you fearfully get the answers but you’ll never knowledgeably amass the answers nor gain experience if you keep on stopping at the points where you get stuck.
Oh…but you thought this post was only about those people in sales?
No, I’m talking to you too.
You may not work in sales, but you sure as hell live in sales. Sales isn’t just a profession, it’s a life skill and you need to stop stopping. You may not have to fill an order, but you do have to fulfill a calling. What’s life calling you to do? What’s that pull…what’s that whisper..what’s that yearn?
Through circumstances and events-some beyond your control, life tries to place an order on your life and I’m telling you that you don’t have to fill that order. Your past is ordering that you aren’t good enough. Your upbringing is ordering that you’ll never get off of assistance. The notice you received; the word you just got, the month that you’re having right now is ordering that you’ll never make it out-that you’ll never move up and that you’ll never get ahead. What you’ve got, where you came from, or what you’re going through, is not a calling, it’s an order.Life’s pulling at you to lift your eyes above your thoughts and present circumstances and stop stopping.
Fu*k that order…take today’s apron off and throw it on the counter and say, “No…you can’t take my order, but you can sure as s*** take mine.” Stop taking orders and begin placing them. Fear left un-pushed, will make you wait for your orders…but fear acted upon, learned from, and put back in motion will make you realize your full potential.
Pull up, place your order, and stop stopping.
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