No, not those nations.
I’m talking about a different kind of “NATIONS.” To visit the “NATIONS” I have in mind you won’t have to update your passport, pack your luggage or even leave your home. The “NATIONS” I’m going to discuss in this article are easy to travel to when you ask the right questions.
And isn’t that always the key when we’re coaching ourselves? Asking the right questions?
I do a TON of group and personal sales and leadership coaching. As a result of that work, I have come to learn how important the RIGHT questions can be. I will go so far as to say…
…the QUALITY of your questions will determine the QUALITY of your career. (And life)
With that in mind allow me to challenge you to visit 7 specific “NATIONS”. I’ll also suggest you ask some critical questions.
But before I do that, I have to admit to you that I’ve adapted some of these thoughts from Pastor Rick Warren. I enjoy listening to Rick. He’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever heard. I was at his Saddleback Church in Orange County last year and Rick was talking about these “NATIONS.”
Rick was explaining the relevance of certain words that ended in –nation. It was a very cool and impactful talk wherein he challenged the audience to think of the words he was highlighting, and then he dared them to ask the right questions regarding them.
I made a ton of notes that day because I know material worth stealing when I hear it.
I thought, “Hey, some of this stuff could be adapted to what we do in sales.” I was excited about figuring out how to adapt Rick’s concept to sales. But you know how it goes. I tossed the notes aside when I got home and forgot about them. And then I was cleaning up the disorder on my home office desk this week and I found the lost notes.
They were like buried treasure amongst the clutter.
I began to read my notes. I became excited again about taking a few small pieces from Rick’s talk and adapting them to what we do…which is try to sell stuff to people for a living.
So, here we go…let’s visit some familiar “NATIONS” and let’s ask some quality questions:
What do I need to stop doing in my daily and weekly sales routine?
The real question here is: what unproductive practices or mind-sets do I need to systematically abandon because they’re detrimental to my survival?
Can you think of any? Be honest with yourself. Maybe you are doing something or saying something different than you were trained to do or say. The reason you’re doing that may be because you feel like you’re smarter than the people coaching you. If YOUR stuff is working and commission dollars are pouring into your bank account, then by all means, keep doing those things. But if those actions and mind-sets are killing you… TERMINATE them. In fact TERMINATE any and all actions or attitudes that are standing between you and your stated goals.
What can I mix together to create better results?
Or…even better, who can I combine my talents with to increase my strengths? This is about using your creative juices to determine what or whom you can add to the mix to better your results. For example, maybe you are great at establishing new clients but your fulfillment or level of service is not so good. What or who could you add to the mix of things that has those strengths? Will blending them into your sales processes—partnering with them—help you? How can you pool your talents with others to make your job easier and career more profitable?
What parts or pieces can I remove from the process to make things simpler?
This is different from Termi-NATION. By termination we suggest that you completely cease doing or saying something that may be destructive. Elimi-NATION is about re-engineering something so that you can make it less complex and more effective. In other words, what complexities in the sales process are slowing you down—creating barriers?
How can I bring myself back from the dead?
I know, I know…you’re fine, you may not be on life support right now, but there will be a time in your career when you feel a little dead, a time when you need to reinvent yourself. Even if you’re not on life support now there are small reinventions you can make that will revitalize your career.
Work on refining your purpose or motivation for doing what you do. Ask yourself, what do I wish to BUILD? What do I wish to BECOME?
How can I do things, faster, bigger and in more volume?
COORDINATION is about you making sure that you are WIRED for speed and volume. It’s about making sure your production calendar is completely organized down to you knowing exactly what leads you’re going to call on in any given week. It’s about you knowing your key Competencies down cold. It’s about feeding your head so all of your mind-sets and Attitudes are supportive of your stated goals. It’s about knowing exactly what’s in your Pipeline at all times and having control of it.
How can I make my products/services and myself sound more interesting?
If your conversion ratios suck, or you sense that your prospects aren’t listening to you—not fascinated enough to give you their time and attention, the problem is YOU. Work on being more interesting. Ask these vital questions:
- How can I get to the point FASTER?
- How can I be CLEARER in the delivery of my message?
- How can I bring VALUE
- How can I be perceived as a THOUGHT PARTNER
Again…it may sound harsh, but if they aren’t interested in your message, then you’re not interesting enough.
How can I look at my challenges in a new light?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing things only one way and never, ever stopping long enough to look at your challenges, barriers or shortcoming from a different perspective. We get stuck and say things like:
- “We’ve always done it this way.”
- “That’s never going to change.”
- “That’s always been a problem…we can’t fix that.”
- “I’ve never been good at that”
- “We tried that once. It won’t work.”
If you have ever caught yourself stuck in this quagmire, then pull back and determine how you can view your challenges differently, and then ask a different set of questions:
“Why are we still doing it this way, and is this the absolute most EFFECTIVE way to do it now?”
“What would it take to change that?”
“If there were a way to fix that, WHERE would I start?”
“How can I begin to become adequate at that part of the business so it doesn’t drag me down?”
“How can we fine-tune that strategy and APPLY it again?
I know. Many great questions. But that’s where it starts. We visit a NATION and ask a quality question. Then we begin to answer them honestly and new opportunities open up for us.
I hope you have enjoyed our international trip around these 7 NATIONS. We learned a lot about ourselves and our world and we never left home.
If you haven’t had a chance to read my book, The CAP Equation, A Foolproof Formula for Unlimited Success in Sales, please click on the link below. It’s now available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1CdFi2t
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Joe Buzzello is a nationally recognized expert on direct selling and sales leadership. He has built legacy sales teams and experienced unprecedented success in individual and business-to-business markets as well as the network marketing industry. Joe has held executive level positions for Fortune 500 companies, but he has never strayed far from the art and science of selling, which he loves. In early 2014, Joe began writing, speaking, and coaching through his proprietary platform, The CAP Equation©. Please visit Joe at: http://www.CAPequation.com