Irregular and irreverent rants and ravings from a SALES FANATIC.
We have learned over years of working around the world in every country where commerce exists that the meaning of words often times have huge variations. What I think I am saying can sometimes most certainly NOT be what my listener hears. And this does not even have to be an issue of local language versus English. Native English speakers can be just as confusing to each other depending on where they are from.
A good friend, Tom Freese, the author of Question Based Selling taught our leadership team that, “If it is worth saying, it is worth explaining”.
In my last blog I stated that we have to start with a shift in mindset before we can shift methodologies. This is key to any changes that you want to actually make a part of the culture of an organization, or that you want to make as a human being, for that matter.
My starting premise for shifting the mindset of the sales professional is reframing how they see themselves and developing a clear understanding of why they “sell”. The premise that sticks is an emotional one, not a logical one. We are first, emotional beings, and those embodiments are the most powerful of motivators.
So once again, my view of how to reframe the sales professional’s thinking about why we sell is the mindset shift that says this:
Our objective is to make a difference with the people who we serve.
Here is where Tom Freese comes in. Every word in that phrase is there for a reason, is very specific in nature and communicates something powerful about how and why we do what we do. Let me explain.
‘To make’ is a very strong verb. Action oriented and planned, created and intentional. It is not an accident or a passive thing. It is doable and seeable, and we guide it.
The difference is defined by the other person you are working with; it is something unique and unusual. This difference has a major impact on them and those that THEY serve. It is not something that anyone else will or can likely do, primarily because it was created together with YOU and that will hold a bond that will not be violated.
(Allow me to interject a practical point here. We are working with clients and our end objective is to serve them the way we know best. This always means that our best service is delivered by serving our client with our best products or services. There is always a pragmatic side to our serving. And that’s OK! It keeps us whole and well and able to serve others even more.)
Now, back to the phrase…
‘With’ is a huge little word here. This means that the creation and delivery of our “difference” is not done on our own and then served up for analysis. It is conceived, developed, finalized and delivered WITH the person that you are working with. With them, on things that matter to them. This is not done FOR them; it is done WITH them, from beginning to end, and beyond.
We are working with people, not companies, and not even clients, really. We are working with people and all of their challenges, both professional and personal. This is as much about personal wins for them as it is for helping their jobs and their company in any of the BIG3 types of help provided (help their company grow revenue, help their company reduce overall costs, or help their company manage risks). However, this is not about relationships as much as it is about understanding. This means we do lots of diagnosis and exploration, long before we ever get to the prescription side.
To serve is an interesting and unique perspective. Here I mean a combination of things as defined in many dictionaries. Serve – to do a job or perform duties for a person or organization, to help achieve something, to provide a person with something useful, helping a client choose what they need. I prefer the servant leadership perspective that Robert Greenleaf has in his book, The Servant as Leader, where he states that to serve is “to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being met.”
So there we have it - a simple yet compelling and powerful reframe of thinking for starting the mindset shift for the sales professional: to make a difference with the people who we serve.
This is just the starting point. Following the mindset shift comes the methodology shift and that will take us into the world of Prescriptive Execution. It is not enough to shift the mind; we must also shift ourselves into another gear of execution to make a difference. This takes process, skills, planning and a LOT of work. This takes the work of Challenger, the conversations like Question Based Selling, and a whole lot of COACHING.
More on that soon…