Change Your Story about Sales, Change Your Life.
4 Steps to Change the Story in Your Head
Yesterday I had an opportunity to attend an entrepreneurs networking event in my home province of Newfoundland, Canada. There were approximately 20 entrepreneurs in attendance. After running an informal study I found the following:
- 20 entrepreneurs in attendance
- I spoke to 14
- Nine of the 14 were either in commercialization/sales phase or were just about to move to that phase
- Eight were fearful of the next phase
Probing a little deeper, I asked what image comes to mind when hearing the word “sales”
- Eight used adjectives such as slimy, manipulative, pushy, aggressive, difficult
- One referred to himself as a "natural salesman"
In front of me stood nine VERY intelligent entrepreneurs who believed in their product. But they were fearful of the selling phase. And not only that, they had an image of sales in their mind that would stop even the greatest entrepreneur in their tracks. My findings were sad.
Most of the Generation X/Y entrepreneurs have been raised during a time when their parents were subject to manipulative sales tactics.
Personally, I recall sitting at the kitchen table over dinner and being interrupted by the encyclopedia salesman. I also recall the avoidance of the Amway Sales Rep who just so happened to be my best friends father (not to take anything away from Amway).
It was these experiences and our creative interpretations (note the word creative) of them that formed what we see today as sales.
But times are changing and it is time to change the picture. We MUST if we are going to take our ventures to the next level.
When I decided to enter the sales profession, I realized very early the image I had deep within my sub-concious was not going to serve me. I had to change the story.
Let me suggest 4 steps to change the story in your head:
1) Recognize what the image/voice is telling you.
- Sales is below me
- To be successful in sales I need to be aggressive and pushy
- Salesmen are slick and slimy
You get the picture ...
2) Evaluate the story and ask yourself if it's empowering.
Is this story going to help you in taking your company’s success to the next level?
3) Jot down a different story.
We are living in a day where buyers are educated. There is a good possibility they know as much or more than you about the products or services you are selling. As a sales professional we do not have to push or be aggressive. We need to ask the right questions to help our customer identify problems they need to be solved. We need to educate them and be keen in our follow up. This is the new story.
4) Start telling yourself the new story.
When you hear your inner voice telling you the old story, stop and say, “That’s my old story. Here’s the truth.” Then repeat your new story.
Once I changed my own personal story, I changed my life. All fear of talking to people about my services evaporated. Today, I talk to the heads of companies and organizations; I feel the same way as I do when talking to my friends.
Do you think that the old image of sales is still in our minds? Does is affect our results? Are you a person that can shake the old image and create a new one? I would love to hear your story. Please share it on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.