“I do this <technique> .”
“I believe you do. Let me ask you this… Do you do it on purpose or do you use it when you have an ‘ok s***’ moment in front of a client and feel you need to pull something out of your tool bag?”
“Yeah. Okay. You got me.”
“I do this stuff naturally.”
“I believe it. Doing it ‘naturally’ is success by default. Doing it ‘intentionally’ is success by design. Which is more sustainable?”
Two examples of in-session conversation with separate clients illustrates the belief that most salespeople, and sales leaders, have – salespeople are born not made.
Similar to how “natural” athletes will succeed, and occasionally excel, in their sport for a while “natural” salespeople will succeed… for a while. Then they have a choice. Continue relying on their “natural” sales skills and succeeding by default or succeed by design by taking those natural skills and making them intentional by practicing, preparing and debriefing.
Sales leaders who believe in the “natural” salesperson (or it’s facsimile the “veteran” salesperson) tend to be reactionary because they believe that their salespeople’s natural skills, and their “natural” skills as a sales leader, will magically cause their targets to be hit. When targets aren’t met these “natural” sales leaders become Fire Chief (and primary arsonist), trampling their salespeople in the field through ill conceived “rescue” missions and micro-managing.
Intentional sales leaders are proactive in coaching and developing their team. They create clarity with their salespeople around the specific targets, KPIs and activities they need to hit and have scheduled check-ins with each salesperson on their team weekly so they and their salespeople have time to course correct if they sense that targets might be missed.
In Never Split the Difference, Chris Voss says, “you fall to your highest level of preparation.” Natural salespeople eschew preparation because they “can handle it,” which tends to result in discounting or defending.
David Sandler said, “a professional does what they did as a dummy on purpose.” Being a “dummy” meant succeeding by default, not knowing what to do or say with a prospect but succeeding anyway.
Athletes who reach the top of their sport and stay there for a time appreciate that sustainable success comes from being intentional in their preparation, execution and recovery instead of believing that their natural skills will sustain them long term. If you want sustainable success with your sales it’s better to be intentional than natural.
Until next time… go sell something