U No Hu is back from Tokyo or wherever she has been and she has demanded more about pounding the pavement and, I suppose, less of what I have been writing. This would justify a poll: More sales posts or more posts about bars and wildlife? But seeing that U No Hu pretty much defines my entire audience, I suppose I will go back to some sales-related posts. I promised to write about my Five Day Plan to regroup after a horrible finish to the third quarter anyway so let’s get at it. This is Day 1.
And what a day it was. Thank god Monday’s tend to be the worst day of the week for sales because I was stuck in training meetings all day. I’ll confess that I caught myself bobble heading more than once, but I did catch a few valuable nuggets today. I only wish it didn’t take nearly eight hours sitting in an office to get them.
Among the little gems offered today is a new idea expressed in salsespeak: If you feel awkward, you’re doing it right.
I’m not so sure about that. I felt pretty damn awkward for about all the last half of the summer and when I look back it is hard to think I was “doing it right.” I went through the motions as a sales guy is expected to do, but let’s not forget what happened during some of my efforts. I drove hundreds of miles to meet to meet people who had no grasp of what was going on and had no intention of doing business with me. After a while, not only did I feel awkward, I was awkward.
In retrospect this is what happened. I violated the 70 Rule. Recall the 70 Rule…don’t do business with people older than 70 or people with an IQ below 70. So perhaps it is time to dig into the 70 Rule a little deeper because I think it runs head on against today’s reassurance that if what you’re doing feels awkward, you’re doing it right. (What the hell could be the point of advice like that? I’ll finish this post with my assessment of that.)
A salesman can judge a person’s cognitive ability and age with only so much accuracy, but he can trust his gut. When things feel awkward…or blantantly scream bail out and get out…he has to trust that feeling. Had I, your tour guide, trusted my instincts I might have been a little more productive…and saved a lot of gas. Instead I thought I might be able to win over friendly old folks and get through the sack of rocks intellect that seemed all too common in the market this summer. I broke out of the zen of it all…and that might be the key to the 70 Rule. If you were selling in the dark, would you still be on that sales call? It all depends, it depends on how you FEEL about it. Get a good feel for that, a feeling you can trust, and you will be on your way to better results.
Now, of course, that feeling needs the occassional gut check and some tweaking. Instincts refine with time. Ruts are bad. If you’re not our practicing your trade, however, you’re not going to pick up on the best practices that become intangible instincts.
So less from Day 1 or the Five Day Plan: Stay active and focused and don’t ignore those strong gut feelings. Experience is an asset. Trust it. Keep moving and work smart.
What the Hell Were They Thinking?
Ok, so why would the leaders of today’s training meeting come up with this absurd little pearl of sales wisdom that reassures you that feeling awkward means you’re doing what you should be doing? Who really thinks this ironic suggestion makes sense?
Here’s what’s up. They want the sales force to get out and offer some new products and services that require an approach that is a bit non-standard. I have to give them some credit. Naturally I saw through it immediately. I might be washed up in the field, but I still have a good head on my shoulders. To their credit, most of my colleagues suspected a trick, too, but even if they did see a trick, the idea was presented as a best practice generating great results in other markets. Shoot, I’ll buy into that. At least for a while. But I don’t think they really would advocate feeling awkward as a measure of good performance on the job. Would you?
Another idea offered in the very same seminar was Competence equals Confidence. Feeling awkward doesn’t quite resonate with confidence, does it?