As in life, so it is in sales, fortune favors the bold salesperson – Jeff Shore.
Back in my college days, a classmate used to spur us on with his audacious unconscious display of boldness. Often, he will mount the rostrum prior to our lecturers’ arrival and prep us with motivational talks which he often concluded with Christians gospel messages.
I still remember one of his many epigrams, “By the road of I will do it bye and bye, a man gets to the town of nowhere.” Author Jeff Shore’s Be Bold and Win The Sale reminds me of some of the timeless lessons on boldness gleaned from my friend over thirty years ago.
Boldness is taking action to do the right thing, despite fear and discomfort. It isn’t about being obnoxious, slick, or manipulative. To be bold is to initiate strong, positive actions when others would give in and take the easy path.
Boldness is doing the right thing regardless of your level of discomfort or fear.
According to the author, an effective sales process is about helping customers to improve their lives. Great salespeople first define what those improvements look like. Next, they show how their solutions best meet their customer’s needs. Finally, they make it pleasant for the customer to purchase. A sale is a victory that all parties achieve simultaneously.
One theme that resonated throughout the book is the need, according to the author, for salespeople to get out of their comfort zones of addiction to comfort. Author, Jeff Shore explained that addiction to comfort is the root cause of many common maladies such as procrastination, consumer debt, peer pressure, and lots more.
Addiction to comfort is a major hindrance to your becoming the best you ought to be. Paradoxically, chasing comfort ultimately brings a false sense of comfort. Embracing discomfort and exercising boldness ultimately brings true comfort. Click To Tweet
Yielding to comfort addiction will set you in the familiar yet confining world of mediocrity. To the extent you are unaware of this tendency, to that extent you will plateau off at your current level of performance, and greatness will be beyond your grasp.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. ~ Aristotle
10 lessons to catapult your sales
The author provided useful guides on how you can avoid the slippery slope of comfort addiction, develop boldness and rise to become the best you are meant to be. Here are some lessons I took away from the book. Use them to step-up your sales ladder.
- Yielding to comfort addiction will set you in the familiar yet confining world of mediocrity. To the extent you are unaware of this tendency, to that extent you will plateau off at your current level of performance, and greatness will be beyond your grasp. For me, this is the greatest lesson.
- You are the sum of your bold decisions.
- Outstanding sales performance comes from your actions, purpose (your desire for success), and your frame of mind — that you are the best. Actions, purpose and paradigm in that order.
- “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
- Rationalizations and procrastinations are success killers.
The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed. (Steven Pressfield.)
- Trusted advisors are persuasive people. In your sales outreaches, assertively press your customers to do things that are in your customers’ best interests. Sometimes pushy or aggressive or assertive behavior will be in the customer’s best interest, and it would be just plain wrong to act in any other manner.
- Persist at probing your customers with important questions that will benefit them even though some customers will want to hold back. At some point, it is your job as a sales professional is to ask the deeper and more tough questions. That is the only way you can get an accurate picture of what is happening in your prospect or customer’s life.
- Often, people don’t really listen to what you have to say, or even believe it, but they always listen to see if you believe what you have to say. It is critical that you really believe in your product, its goodness, and its capacity to improve your customer’s life. Believing all of this at a fundamental level drives the sense of value that you bring to customers.
- You can learn to be bold by simply doing the things you would do and engaging in the behaviors you would use if you were already bold. If you feel confident, you will act confidently. The law of reversibility says that even if you don’t feel confident if you act confidently, that action itself has a reverse effect that will cause you to feel confident. Let’s go for it.
- Overcoming your addiction to comfort requires immediate and automatic reactions. You master your automatic reactions through repetition.
Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.
A simple path of 4 action steps
According to the author, the key to getting out of your comfort zones and developing boldness is to make a positive decision before you face your moment of discomfort. In sales and in life, we can predict most of the familiar moments of discomfort with some degrees of accuracy. If we can predict them, then we can predetermine our response.
Here are the 4 steps to help you give appropriate predetermined responses:
- Anticipate the minor discomfort in advance.
- Decide in advance how you will respond.
- Make up a new and positive story for the situation.
- Play out the story in your mind repeatedly.
Making it work for you.
- Know your customers’ problems before setting out to sell him products or services that will improve his life.
- Determine the Current Dissatisfaction (CD) level of the customer as this determines his sense of urgency. When the discomfort of staying put with the status quo is more distasteful than the cost of moving forward, the customer will act.
- First, understand the customers current situation, what is he moving “from” before offering him what he is moving “to”. How will what you are offering or proposing improve his life?
- Not understanding the customer’s Current Dissatisfaction and Future Promise, will leave you to competing on Costs alone. Competing solely on cost places you on the racetrack to commodification of your product and service and not to be envied subpar profitability.
- When do people buy? People buy when the product of their Current Dissatisfaction and their Future Promise exceeds the sum of their Costs plus their Fears.
(Current Dissatisfaction) × (Future Promise) > Cost + Fear
Don’t just decide to do something; do it today. Real power comes through action. Ideas make us interesting and decisions make us motivated, but it is action that makes us effective.
Copyright ©Jeff Shore, Be Bold and Win The Sale, McGraw HIll, 2014