Turbulence Will Help You Grow Stronger
I arrived at the airport on time to board the first leg of my flight from Tampa to San Francisco and with a four-hour flight in front of me; I was looking forward to completing a large project. It just wasn’t going to be that easy. Our pilot and his flight crew arrived 45 minutes late, and I began to wonder if I would make my connecting flight in Phoenix. Then, 30 minutes into the flight, we encountered turbulence, and the pilot announced that it would remain turbulent for the duration of the flight. The feelings of agitation, frustration, and tension began to creep in on me, and I was finding it difficult to complete my project.
I began to draw correlations between this and a turbulent sales call. Let’s see if you can relate:
You arrive on time at an appointment that you secured two weeks ago. After 15 minutes in the lobby, the receptionist informs you that the president is a “no-show,” and he would like you to meet with a middle manager in his absence.
The manager, who is obviously feeling threatened and trapped, begins the meeting with the proverbial: “What do you have?”
You attempt to introduce your company and what you have to offer, but to no avail you get caught in his trap. He informs you that everything is going well with the current provider and invites you to take part in the RFP / bid process in six months.
As you realize you are in the midst of a turbulent sales call, feelings of agitation, frustration, and tension creep in on you; this isn’t what you expected.
Here are three tips for conquering a turbulent sales call:
- Have an IRA
Too often our expectations are too high, and we end up putting too much pressure on ourselves, and then that puts pressure on others. If your ideal
(I) outcome was to get the order, then obviously that’s not going to happen. If you have planned for realistic
(R) and acceptable
(A) outcomes, you are more likely to have drop back positions that will allow for continuation.
- Be a Sales Leader
Synergy can only exist when there is trust. Trust and synergy are a byproduct of your ability to eliminate your useless fears and collaborate. When you collaborate, trust is created. Where there is trust, there is synergy, and creating synergy is the essence of leadership, which produces believers and followers.
- Avoid Getting Trapped
Have you ever heard that “hurt people hurt people,” or “scared people scare people?” Well believe it or not, people who are trapped trap people. Don’t fall for it!
Resist the urge to tell your story and let loose of your features and benefits. Instead, when you encounter the proverbial: “What do you have?” simply thank them and ask: “How much time do you have to spend with me today?” Then ask them: “In your mind, what would be a successful outcome to our time together?” After they answer, ask them: “What were you hoping I could do for you?” Then: “Tell me a little bit about…”
Focus on getting them talking about everyone’s favorite thing to talk about: themselves.
Of course there is more to it than what I’ve written here in this short excerpt. What I enjoy most about working with sales leaders is that they have the ability to inspire others to grow. When you learn to work through turbulence, whether on an airplane or on a sales call, you grow stronger.
Founder of RedRock Leadership