We all have comfort zones. Even the most confident and knowledgeable sales people have a zone within which they like to operate. Acknowledging where those comfort boundaries end is the first step. The second step is far harder – having the courage to face them head on.
The fact is, in sales today the competition is so fierce that the need to be constantly improving, learning and gaining valuable experience is growing by the day.
The British Prime Minister is an example for us all…
From a sales training perspective, I loved watching British Prime Minister David Cameron on Letterman. On his list of ‘things to do this week’ I doubt very much that ‘go on The David Letterman Show’ was something that Cameron was particularly relishing. In fact, I’ll go all out and say he was probably dreading it.
His comfort zone, believe it or not, is answering tough questions on his foreign policy, recent cabinet reshuffle and plans to reform. The idea of being interviewed by a quick-witted TV host who has the audience in his pocket at all times, is a scary one.
So, why did Cameron become the first sitting PM to go on The David Letterman Show? That’s easy. Believe it or not, Cameron has to sell himself to the public if he is going to win votes at the next General Election. The programme exposed him in a new light to a huge audience that he needs to ‘like’ him and support him.
Cameron understood the pros of going on the programme. Here are THREE:
– Incredible profile boost
– People see his ‘natural’ side
– Making history
The PM would also have understood the potential pitfalls of going on a show where he was largely unprepared. Here are THREE:
– Being ridiculed
– Losing credibility
– Losing voters’ trust
And, other than being shown up for not having an accurate enough memory on the author of Rule Britannia, Cameron’s risk paid off. One US viewer said, ‘it’s great to see someone being human and not a politician’
– If you don’t use social media to sell, jump into LinkedIn and Twitter
– If you hate networking events, book yourself up for three next week
– If you despise cold calling, make six calls before the end of the day
Sometimes, stepping up to that bigger stage is what sales professionals are afraid to do because they focus too heavily on the negatives associated with the move. Today’s sales environment requires more people to take risks, step out of their comfort zones and work harder for success. With this in mind…
…do you know what your comfort zone is?
Cold calling used to be mine. I would call and call and call, dreading that anyone would actually answer the phone! If they did, I was lost, out of my comfortable area and had absolutely no chance of selling a thing. I could hardly have a conversation. All I wanted to do was make my call numbers and head home. Where’s the point in that?
I needed a strategy to manage the cold calling because while I knew I hated them, I also knew that I needed them to make money and be successful. Think about Cameron. He may not have wanted to go on the programme to be interviewed, but he knew the opportunity it could offer him. He took the risk and it paid off.
My strategy was to force myself through more and more cold calls a day than ever before. What I feared was rejection and people telling me to stop calling- but as soon as I had done a load of the calls and heard every type of objection my prospects could possibly come up with, I became hardened to them. I actually got to a point where I could get more results out of cold calls than I could out of the leads that marketing were throwing my way! It was a wake-up call for me. You can never stop learning, and often the most important lessons in sales, business and life in general are not easy ones to learn.
If once it was the case that two or three competitors were being shortlisted for a final pitch, today you can bet that six, seven, eight or more are in there fighting for the same deal that you are. This won’t change.
The only thing that can change is your approach to that sale. You’ve done everything in your comfort zone and it’s kind of working. Now is the time to step out and try something different.
Being bold and taking risks are wired into the modern profession of selling. What will you do differently today to close that deal tomorrow?
Developing modern selling strategies that drive up performance and results is no easy task. Stepping out of a comfort zone is just one element. Speak to Natural Training about building a new approach for you and your sales team. Call the team on 0207 043 1582 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.