So I Have to Change…Again?

by Dec 14, 2020


Continuing our exploration of Shiftability we step into the art and science of TRANSFORMATION. More than just change… this is where we change who we ARE at the core of our beliefs, not just changing our techniques. The journey continues with a bit of a story that we are all probably familiar with. While written before the “mandates’ of physical distancing you can envision this same situation playing out over ZOOM as our sales team all grab that “first cup” and cozy up to the big screen monitor on their desk at home…

Juggling her coffee and her laptop, Kristine pushed open the door to the conference room with her elbow, a few minutes late for the weekly division sales meeting. As she made her way to her seat she caught Dave’s eye. He made a small nod to the right. She followed his gaze. Three stacks of bright-colored hardcover books occupied center stage. Kristine’s stomach knotted and she looked back to Dave. He smirked and rolled his eyes.

Whatever it was, Kristine knew a couple of things for sure. There would be a few good ideas to get excited about but she would probably be told to abandon a few old ideas that had worked for her in order to get with the new program. And Dave would make some good beer money again, selling everyone’s new books on eBay.

Sound familiar? Perhaps your sales manager handed you this book to read over the weekend and told you to come back Monday ready to discuss it in your sales meeting. Please don’t sell it on eBay just yet.

Kristine’s sales manager, like so many others, is frantically trying to solve this problem: How does a sales professional stay relevant today? How do we equip ourselves to be successful in aggressive PICOS-style negotiations? How do we make sure we deliver value to our organization? To our clients? And ultimately, to ourselves?

So we are eagerly searching for the next best technique in selling, adopting and mandating new methods, changing focus, trying different incentives, and designing new programs. We get very busy doing new things, something, anything. But too often, even though we have changed everything, we get the same old results. We knock our heads up against the same problems and find ourselves right back where we started, still on the edge of irrelevance.

The whole effort becomes a change for change’s sake, without any real progress or improvement made. Several key misconceptions underpin this cycle of change that doesn’t change anything.

Out With the Old, In With the New
The first misconception is that a shift or change is always an either/or proposition. We will either adopt this new program wholeheartedly and abandon our previous methods OR we will reject this new idea and stubbornly stick to the old plan.

Neil Rackham, the author of SPIN Selling, calls this the “Armageddon selling formula” and describes it like this.  “Everything you’ve ever learned about sales is wrong and, unless you stop doing it instantly, your sales efforts will shortly die in agony. There is, however, one simple cure that I have discovered. It is…” and here the author puts in a pitch for the appropriate magic bullet, such as “my prospecting method,” “my selection system,” “our funnel management process,” or “our trademarked social media analytics”—take your pick …

This is probably the biggest failing of many sales formulas and usually what inspires controversy. The champions enthusiastically adopt the new program and throw out everything they have been doing up to this point. The detractors disdainfully reject the new ideas completely because they are unwilling to part with their old ways. In both cases, change is understood to be a net-zero exchange, instead of a process of building, growth, and evolution.

In this book, we would like to suggest that shifting is not binary, but instead mostly a both/and proposition. You will need to learn new skills, apply new ideas in selling, AND still maintain the old ideas that work well but perhaps understand and apply them in new ways. We don’t want you to abandon methods and skills that are successful for you. We also don’t want you to reject new ideas just because they are new and perhaps not yet proven in your own experience.

The challenge becomes choosing which changes to adopt, and which shifts to make.

We aim to show you a framework for putting the best of today’s thinking of selling into practice. We are going to help you navigate your way through the noise to six essentials shifts we believe you need to make to stay relevant and be effective. But first, we need to help you answer this pressing question: How do I make changes that stick?

To Do, Or Not to Do?
The second misconception about change is that it is all about doing. When we are faced with a problem, usually our first thought is, what should I do to solve this problem? Then we get very busy doing things to solve our problem. We think that if we could just change our behavior, develop a new skill, apply a new technique, or start a new program, then surely we will be more successful. Hence the flood of books on selling that promise new ways to do sales.

We are going to show you why doing isn’t the right place to start for sustainable change. Rather, we need to start with changing who we are at the core of our beliefs, not just changing our techniques.

Before we get to showing you the things you can do that will help put you on the road to success as a sales professional today, we need to talk to you about your being. In order to do something different, you have to believe something different.

This is the heart of transformation. And, transformation is exactly what is required.

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